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Full text of "Pen pictures of St. Paul, Minnesota, and biographical sketches of old settlers : from the earliest settlement of the city, up to and including the year 1857"

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From the Earliest Settlement of the City, up to and 

Including the Year 1857. 


Author of "Life in the Black Hills," "He-Ieo-pa," "Indian Legends," "Thrilling Scenes Amw>g 

the Indians," "Recollections of Eminent Men," Etc. 

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ItHE new YORK 




Entered accord ng to the Act of Congress in the year 1884, 


In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C. 


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The grave levels all distinctions. So do Pen Pictures. Each name 
appears in its individual capacity but in the body of the articles the merits and 
titles of the persons mentioned are fully set forth. So too as regards engravings. 
None appear but that of the author for the simple reason that some can afford a 
steel engraving while others equally as meritorious cannot, and hence all are placed 
on a common level. It is possible that I may issue a special edition containing 
portraits, if the demand should warrant, and in that case none but steel or the very 
best photographic engravings will be used. 

And thus I submit to posterity this work. Writing in the day in which 
the majority of the people described lived, has enabled me to group together a vast 
amount of reliable information and to procure a better conception of the peculiarities 
of character than could have been obtained after the parties now living have passed 
off the stage of life. The work embraces a period of twenty years, commencing at 
1838 and ending with 1857 inclusive, and treats exclusively of the old settlers of 
Saint Paul and not of the State at large. It has been my purpose to record 
impartially every prominent fact and every event transpiring in this period, as well 
as to obtain all accurate dates and other correct information respecting the subjects 
about which I have written and who have either lived or died during the period 
covered by my book. In delineating character I have avoided anything which 
savored of extravagance in my laudations ; and the best evidence that I have been 
successful in my labors is the commendation of over one hundred citizens of 
Saint Paul whose verdict can be found at the end of this volume. Hoping that 
my work will not only meet the approbation of the old settlers themselves and 
their children, but of the people at large, I submit it to an intelligent and 
discriminating public. t. m. n. 


Historical Events and Biographical Sketches 
Embraced in the Following Years 

Inclusive, viz.: 

1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842, 1843, 1844, 1845, 1846, 

1847, 1848, 1849, 1850, 1851, 1852, 1853, 

1854. 1855, 1856, 1857. 


Chapter I. — 1838 — First White Settler, page 6; First House, 6; Saint Paul, 
its Origin and Early History, i; Carver's Cave, 3; First Actual Settle- 
ment, 5 ; Treaty with the Indians, 6. 

Chapter II. — 1839 — First Events, page 8; a Former Slave, Thompson, 9; 
First Murder, 11; First White Child, 14. 

Chapter III. — 1840-1 — First Events, page 15; Trial of Phelan, 15; Pig's Eye, 
16; First Church, 23; Name of St. Paul, 23; First Catholic Priest, 24; 
Parrant's New Claim, 19; Slavery, 22. 

Chapter IV. — 1842 — First Events, page 27; First American Flag, 29; Saint 
Paul, 27; An Indian Battle, 30. 

Chapter V. — 1843 — First Events, page 32 ; the Outlook, 38 ; the Central 
House, 39; Camphor vs. Whisky, 40. 

Chapter VI. — 1S44 — First Events, 41; First Frame House, 43; First Grist 
and Lumber Mill, 44; First Protestant Service, 45; First Drayman, 45. 

Chapter VII.— 1845-6— First Events, page 46; First Hotel, 47; First Odd 
Fellow's Funeral, 47; First Cooper and Blacksmith, 48; First Post-office 
and First Postmaster, 49; a Point on the River, 49; Oldest House in West 
St. Paul, 51; Red River Carts, 52; First Painter and Artist, 53; Import- 
ing Flour and Potatoes, 55; Oldest Dwelling House in St. Paul, 56; the 
Oldest Building on Original Grounds, 57. 


Chapter VIII. — 1S47 — First Events, page 60 ; Fifty Inhabitants, 60 ; First 
Tavern, 62 ; First Day and Sunday Schools, 63 ; the Wild Hunter's Hotel, 
64; the First Physician, 66; the First and Oldest Sunday School, 67; First 
Steamboat Line, 69; Town Site Surveyed, 71 ; St. Paul House, 71 ; Indian 
Camp Fires, 71 ; First Tailor, &c., 72; An Eye for an Eye, t&c, 72. 

Chapter IX. — 1S4S — First Events, page 73; New School House, 73; First 
Protestant Sermons, 73; Out in the Cold, 73; First Delegate to Congress, 
74; Title to Tow^nsite, 74; One Stoie, 74; A Running Stream and the Old 
Castle, 74; City Hall Bell, 76; St. Paul the Capital, 77; Only a Village, 79; 
Swinging on the Garden Gate, 83 ; Somewhat Remarkable, 84 ; Don't 
Grumble, it is a Law, 88; First Miller, 90; Shooting Ducks in the City, 90. 

Chapter X. — 1849 — First Events, page 99 ; Organization of the Territory, 99; 
Population in City and Territory, 100; First Paper, First Editor, First 
Printing Press, 100; Arrival of Gov. Ramsey, 104; A few Log Houses, 
105; Crystallization of Society, 105; First Brick and Stone Buildings, 106; 
First Protestant Church, 107 ; Room in w hich the Proclamation was Writ- 
ten, 107; Meeting of the First Legislature, 107; Celebration of the First 
Fourth of July, 108; By the River, 109; First Deed, no; Tow^n Growing, 
hi; First Brick Yard, iii; Old American House, 112; First Stage Coach 
and Livery Stable, 113; Origin of our School System, 114; Dividing Line 
between Civilization and Barbarism, 114; The Oldest Printer, 115; First 
Real Estate Dealer and First Market Woman, 118; First Burial Ground, 
119; St. Paul and Minneapolis one City, 119; First Clergyman, 120; Green 
Enough to Try It, 128; Wild Turkey vs Buzzard, 128; Rice Park, 138; 
Meeting of the First Court, 139; First Hardware and Furniture Store, 139; 
First Bank, First Masonic Lodge, First Odd Fellows, 141 ; St. Paul be- 
comes a Town, 141; On the Bridge at Midnight, 147; First City Justice, 
148; First Clerk of First Court, 150; A Bit of History, 152; Don't Dream 
Again, 158; Whisky vs. the Barn, 160; Seal of the Old Settlers, 162; Going 
into the Country, 162; Ramsey County Created, 166; Monk Hall, 169: 

First Bankers, 170; Just Escaped Lynching, 172; Dark as the D 1, 182; 

The Contrast, 185; Ploughing in the City in 1S45, 192. 

Chapter XI. — 1S50 — First Events, page 193; New Year's Calls, 193; No 
Remarkable Events, 194; Post-otftce and Letters, 194; First Theatricals, 
194; Ramsey's Happy Hit, 196; Old Bets, 197; First Mayor, 200; First 
Bowling Alley, 201 ; First Fresh Oysters, 209; First Club House, 209; 
Chicken Feed and the Indians, 211; Threatened Burning of Ramsey in 
Effigy, 212; Ho, the Day is Breaking, 214; Arrival of a Boat, 214; No 
Great Changes, 215; First Express Messenger, 215; First Brick House on 
the Bluff", 223; First Kerosene Oil, 228; The Swedish Authoress and the 
Swedish Singer, 236; First Fire, First Church Bell, First Court House, 
First Episcopal Church, First Thanksgiving, 240; First Cholera, First 
Directory, First Brick Store, 241 ; First Photographer, First Lithograph, 
243; Talking to the Assessor, 244; First Brick Store, 247. 

Chapter XII. — 1851 — First Events, page 259; Second Meeting of the Legis- 
lature, 259; Capitol located, 260; First Dramatic Performance, 260; Squaw 
Log Drivers, 262; "Malice Towards None and Charity for All," 262; Fir^'t 


Concord Stage Coach, 263; A Square Drink and a Free Ride, 263; The 
Old Stage Times, 264; In the Swearing Car, 264; Indian Fidelity, 265; 
Touchingly Expressed, 267; Just mv Luck, 268; The Express Business, 
26S; Our Doubts are Traitors, 268; Treaty with the Sioux, 269; The First 
Bishop, 269; His Death, 271 ; The Red River Carts, 271 ; First City Clerk, 

275; Gov. Ramsey Driving Nails, 276; A Thrilling Scene, 2S4; "D 

the Land," 28S; White Bear Lake, 288; The Winslow House, the Cathe- 
dral, a Whig Organ, Hook and Ladder Company, 290; First Leather 
Store, 293; Grass and Hazel Nuts on Third Street, 300; Reminiscences, 
301; Indians and the Beggar Dance, 303; Indian Mode of Fishing, 304; 
No Appreciation of Money, 305 ; The Characters of the Day, 305 ; The 
Oldest Undertaker, 306; Predicting a Collapse, 307; Sauerkraut and Light- 
ning Rods, 308; Scraps from Memory, 308; Rather Amusing, 309; Dia- 
mond Cut Diamond, 317; The Great Beyond, 319; Imprisonment for Debt, 
320; That Rocking Chair, 324; Now Go On With Your Bidding, 325; 
The Old Post-office, 329. 

Chapter XIII. — 1S52 — First Events, page 334; Opening of the Year, 334; 
The Third Legislature, 335; Death of James M. Goodhue, 335; On Foot 
to Superior, 336; Murders, Brutal Scenes, First Hanging, 337; On Stilts, 
344; "I Gather Them In ! I Gather Them In," Mrs. Ramsey, 345; An 
Interesting Incident, Newson, 347; The Wooden Ham, 366; Bad Luck, 367; 

Chapter XIV. — 1853 — First Events, page 372; My Arrival in St. Paul, 372. 
The Fourth Legislature, 374; Events of 1853, 375; Two Bucking Govern- 
ors, 377; Rice vs. Gorman, 37S; Put that Man in the Guard House, 379; 
Grass in the Streets of St. Paul, 380; Never was There, 381 ; Log Cabin 
vs. Merchants Hotel, 381; Indian Murder, 382; In a Bad Predicament, the 
Pursuit, Indian Killed, 383; Interesting Incident, 385; New Postmaster? 
Prairie Chickens, Murders, 387; An Unpleasant Situation, Hole-in-the-Day, 
3915; Indian White Queen, 396; What is the Use ? 400; The Oldest Banker 
in the City 401 ; That Old-fashioned Inn, 409; Incidents in the Life of M. 
E. Ames, 412; Kissing, 41S; Sold the First Groceries, 421. 

Chapter XV. — 1854 — First Events, page 426; Capitol Building, 426; News- 
papers, 427; Great Railroad Excursion, 428; Unsafe Currency, 429; First 
Execution, 429; That Little Black-eyed Woman, 438; Incidents of Early 
Journalism, 447; In a Tight Place, 448; Luck, 452; Beautiful Girls, 452; 
Sick, 456; A Retrospect, 464; Force of Habit, 465; "I Remember," 465 ; 
''Backward, Flow Backward," 468; The Early Settlers, 471; First Dress- 
making, 472; Feet not Empty, 483; Parks, 487; Claims to be the First 
Soldier in the Union Army, 492. 

Chapter XVL — 1855 — First Events, page 495; Condensed Events, 495; Emi- 
grating to the Frontier, 498; Boating, Fire Department, a Year of Immi- 
gration, 500; Gloriously Exhilarating, 501 ; A Busy Place, 502 ; A Square 
Republican Fight, 503; I Know it is All Right, 506; Oldest Dry-Goods 
House, 509; Excitement in Real Estate, 514; The Old Settler's Heart, 517; 
Impediments of Life, 519; Musings, 530; The Moon Went Right On, 534; 
First Billiard and Concert Hall, 542; "$5, Just $5," Billy Phillips, 55S; First 
News Stand, 555. 


Chapter XVII. — 1S56 — First Events, page 563; Auspiciously Begun, 563: 
Ramsey County, the Prophecy, 564; First Military Company and other 
Events, 567; First Policemen, 568; Murder and Robbery, 56S; The Fuller 
House, 569; Arrivals, &c., 570. A Memorable Event, 578; Light on a Dark 
Subject, 600; Why ? 604; Young Men's Christian Association, 619. 

Chapiter XVIII. — 1S57 — First Events, page 630; Culminating Year and 
Conclusion, 630; Twenty-four Boats at our Levee, 631 ; Foster father, 632; 
Up in a Balloon, 634; Ramsey County Jail, Military Companies, on the 
War-path, 636; Directory, a Horrible Murder, 638; Another Murder, 640; 
Theatres, Constitutional Convention, St. Paul Library, 642; Vigilance 
Committee, Wabasha Bridge, 644; Twenty Buildings Burned, 646; Con- 
cert Hall Block, 648; Rumbling of the Cars, District Court, First School 
House, 654; The Social Element of Early Days, 657; Rather Embarrass- 
ing, 664; The Real Estate Mania, 666; The Sunrise Expedition, 667; Rise 
of Real Estate, 669; Three per cent, per Month, 672; The Wave Breaks, 
Hard Times, 675-6; The Capittti Removal, Eighth Session of the Legisla- 
ture, 683; Celery vs. Salary, 685; First State Election, 690; First State 
Legislature, 691 ; "Take a Drink, Sir," 692; " Be Brief, Sir," 694; The Long 
Roll, 695; That Mule, 696. 

Chapter XIX. — Little or No Data, page 699; Early Missionary Labors, 699; 
Conclusion, Good-bye, 734; Testimonials of 105 Citizens, 735, 736, 737, 
738, 739- 

^ [I am indebted to Rev. E. D. Neill for courtesies extended during the preparation of this 













In rapid growth and in material progress St. Paul may be 
classed among the most remarkable cities of the Northwest. In 
iS^Q — or thirty-six years ago — when the bill giving Minnesota 
an existence was first introduced into Congress and by which bill 
St. Paul became the Capital of the Territory, even then men well 
posted in geography were utterly ignorant of its whereabouts. 
It was delineated on no map, known in no history, only recog- 
nized as somewhere near the Falls of St. Anthony, away off in an 
indefinable country known only to the savages. In the march 
of little over a quarter of a century it now takes rank among 
the leading cities of the Union, and in solid growth and prosper- 
ity astonishes even the most sanguine. 


History, however complimentary, can never adequately 
compensate the early settlers of St. Paul for their earnest efforts 
and struggles to establish at the head of navigation on the Mis- 
sissippi River, the foundation for a city, which, in the brief period 
of the next twenty coming years will rival in commercial greatness 
and in population any other metropolis in the West, not excepting 
either Chicago or St. Louis. Its past history and its growth ; 
its present prospective outlook ; the grand empire beyond it yet 
to be developed ; the opening up of the trade of Japan and China ; 
the artery of commerce which cleaves its way to the Pacific coast 
in the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad ; the great 
wheat fields tributary to it ; its gridiron of railroad tracks ; its 
grand wholesale trade reaching into nearly one hundred millions 
per year; its increasing manufacturing interests ; its large banking 
capital — all attest the causes silently operating to produce results 
which will astonish the longest head and the most sagacious brain. 
Coupled with this is a strong probability of the union of the two 
cities (Saint Paul and Minneapolis,) not far in the distance, 
and with these combined elements a power will spring into exist- 
ence here that will challenge the admiration of the world ; for, at 
about this point in the dim future, midway of the two oceans, 
geographically in the center of this great continent, may yet sit 
in solemn grandeur the Capitol of the American Nation. Con- 
gress will some day clean up the Mississippi River from this 
point to the gulf; millions of bushels of wheat brought here by 
hundreds of railroad trains will be transported on its bosom to 
ocean steamers ; rav/ cotton from the plantations of the south 
will in turn find its way into our mills, and fabrics manufactured 
therefrom will go forth to supply the wants of the future empire 
which will spring up between this city and the Pacific ocean. 
Iron ore from our mines will enter our blast furnaces and supply 
the great demands of hundreds of yet unborn cities, while our 
mineral resources will bring into existence reducing, smelting 
and refining factories that will employ thousands of men. 


This earnest missionary was no doubt the first white man to 
visit the site where now stands St. Paul. He ascended the Mis- 
sissippi River in 1680 — or 205 years ago — but before reaching the 


ground now occupied by the 'city, was taken prisoner by the 
Sioux Indians, and in April of that year reached a Httle bay a 
short distance below the city, which must have been, from his 
description, the mouth of Phelan Creek. 


In 1766 — 1 19 years ago, and ^6 years after the first visit of 
Hennepin — Capt. Jonathan Carver, a man of distinction and who 
had served as an officer in the French and Indian wars, conceived 
the idea of exploring this then little known and undeveloped 
region. In the fall of 1766 he reached this locality and describes 
*'a great cave about thirty miles below the Falls of St. Anthony," 
in the following accurate manner: " The entrance into it is about 
ten feet wide ; the height of it five feet; the arch within is near 
fifteen feet high and about thirty feet broad. The bottom of it 
consists of fine, clear sand. About twenty feet from the entrance 
of it begins a lake." The distance from the Falls of St. Anthony 
is not thirty miles as stated by Carver, but about ten; by river 
about twenty. 

carver's cave. 

In this cave Carver held a grand council with the Indians 
and he claims they gave him a deed of a large tract of land 
embracing the present site of St. Paul, and many acres above the 
Falls on the east side of the river, in the aggregate one hundred 
square miles. Above this cave, on the bluff, was the burial-place 
of the savages, and here to-day can be found many mounds. 
It was also in this cave where the Indians held their great 
gatherings, composed of various tribes who congregated here to 
talk over the "affairs of state" and enjoy their huge pow-wows. 
Those were happy days for the Aborigmes, but now the red men 
are rarely seen upon our streets, or rarely heard of, except on 
the extreme frontier. 

incidents of carver's cave LYMAN DAYTON. 

The cave alluded to is at the foot of what is now known as 
Dayton's bluff, about one-half mile below our present levee, with- 
in the city limits, and on the east bank of the Mississippi River. 
The bluff derives its name from Mr. Lyman Dayton, who former- 


ly owned all the property on the plateau above and much of that 
in the swamp below, now occupied by the various railroad com.- 
panies. He was an energetic, stirring, liberal, kind-hearted man, 
and had he lived he would have been immensely rich. He was 
portly in person, quick in speech and action, rugged in looks, 
performed many good acts when living, and now when dead his 
memory is kindly cherished by all the old settlers who knew him 
well and appreciated his worth. He left a widow and an only 
son, the former living at a place called Dayton, on the upper 
Mississippi, and the latter now a resident of Minneapolis. 


Nearly thirty years ago I traveled with a lady and gentle- 
man on their way East who had visited St. Paul to claim their 
possession as transferred to them by the heirs of Jonathan Carver, 
to the immense tract of land already alluded to, having in their 
keeping a deed of this then and now immensely valuable proper- 
ty, and who were greatly disappointed on searching the records 
to find that while such a deed was given to Carver by the Indians, 
yet when the land was ceded to the United States no mention 
was made of the transaction ; that is, the deed was not confirmed, 
and hence the title was not perfect. The gentleman was then 
sick and subsequently died, but for courtesies extended to him by 
myself on the journey, his widow years afterwards gave me a copy 
of the alleged deed, and I presented it to the Academy of Science. 
That institution united with the Historical Society, and when this 
was burned out in the old Capitol building the deed went up in 
smoke as many other grand schemes of men have disappeared 
in the black clouds of disappointment. What would have been 
the result if these parties had succeeded in perfecting their title 
nobody can tell, but this little incident is interesting as connected 
with the early growth and history of St. Paul. In 1848 Dr. 
Carver, grandson of Jonathan, visited our city in search of his 
property, but Congress would not recognize his claim and the 
matter quietly dropped. 


Over twenty -five years ago Carver's cave was a place of rural 
beauty and attractiveness. Many traditionary legends of the red 


men lingered around its peculiar history, and tourists entered its 
cavernous mouth, dallied with its clear water, wrote their names 
upon its transitory sand walls, and sometimes penetrated its 
winding, hidden rivulet as it laughingly gurgled its way on to the 
Mississippi river. Then nature was dressed in her gayest attire. 
Then I could pick my way along the bank of the river amid the 
flowers that bloomed on every side. Now the whole plateau or 
swampy land, embracing several acres over which I then passed, 
is one solid network of rails on which 9,226 trains or 45,636 
cars pass per month, or over 250 trains of cars daily come and 
go into the saintly city of St. Paul. (This includes freight as 
well as passenger trains ; of the latter there are about 188 daily.) 
The entrance to the cave is at present blocked by a railroad 
track. Its capacious chamber is filled with beer barrels. Its 
pearly stream has ceased to flow. It is slowly dying of civiliza- 
tion, and in a few years will be known only in history, and yet to 
those who remember it in its palmiest days, it brings up many 
memories of by gone hours and recalls many features of old 
friends who sleep the silent sleep of death. And so the years go 
by, the tread of population increases, and the landmarks of the past 
are obliterated by the swelling wave of the human race which 
pushes barbarism to the mountains, crowds the Indians beyond 
the plains and harnesses nature to do the bidding of dominant 


In the year 1805 — eighty years ago — a treaty was made 
with the Sioux Indians, w^ho at that time owned all the land on 
the w^est side of the Mississippi River, by Lieut. Z. M. Pike, (after 
whom Pike Island, at the base of Fort Snelling is named, and 
which island can be plainly seen from the cars on the left coming 
from the fort, or on the right going to the fort,) whereby they 
ceded to the United States a reservation at the mouth of the 
Minnesota River; and in 18 19 — or sixty-six years ago — the 
present Fort Snelling was commer;ced, and this is really the first 
actual settlement in this region, antedating that at St. Paul or 
"Pig's Eye." This year, or in 18 19, Mackinaw boats loaded 
with government supplies, were poled up the Mississippi River 
900 miles from St. Louis to Fort Snelling, the time thus occupied 


being three months. Now palatial steamers can bring the same 
kind of goods from the same points to Fort Snelling inside of 
five days. We really do not comprehend the march of events 
and the progress of the age in which we live, until we dig up 
the past and place it side by side with the present, and then we 
begin to realize what Galileo many years ago said, that '* the 
world does move," and surrounding events demonstrate that it is 
moving now faster than at any other period in its history. 

treaties with the indians for portions of their land 

*' pig's eye." 

Thirty-two years after the first treaty, or about 1837, ^^^ 
Chippewas ceded a portion of their land east of the Mississippi 
River — they claiming all the land on the east side of the river 
and the Sioux all the land on the west side, the river being the 
boundary line — and part of this land ceded by the Chippewas 
is the present site of St. Paul. Settlers of the Red River of the 
North mostly of French extraction, who had been driven off the 
Fort Snelling reservation ceded by the Sioux, settled upon this 
ceded land from the Chippewas, and hence commenced the 
nucleus from which a great city sprang into being and a greater 
city is yet to be in the march of years. A Canadian voyageur, 
with a bad reputation and sinister features, by the name of Pierre 
Parrant, has the honor of being the first settler of our Saintly 
City. From all accounts he was an ugly looking fellow but no 
doubt brave. He had an eye that resembled that of a pig, and 
hence the place was early called *' Pig's Eye," which euphonious 
name it bore for several years. 


Parrant built the first log house in St. Paul in 1838, or forty- 
seven years ago, and at the close of that year nine cabins graced 
the future city, composed of a motley group of Canadians and 
Swiss French. Of course Parrant had to live, so he opened up 
a trade with the soldiers and Jndians of poisonous whisky, and 
no doubt for a time both he and his fellow traders did a thriving 
business. I believe he subsequently moved down the river about 
three miles to a place now called *' Pig's Eye," but what finally 
became of him nobody seems to know. All great men have 


histories of their early struggles and poverty, but in the end 
they get the better of them, so if this law applies to cities as no 
doubt it does, St. Paul is in the direct line of promotion. But 
what a hodge-podge of concatenating episodes ! A Canadian 
Frenchman ! Bad man ! Pig's Eye ! Whisky ! First log house ! 
First settler ! Indians ! Finally, St. Paul. If a sinner gets to 
heaven at last St. Paul is bound to be at the top of the ladder ! 
When a boy I used to hear the quotation — 

" Honor and shame from no condition rise, — 
Act well your part, there all the honor lies." 

St. Paul is acting well her part now no matter what may 
have been her early history. Beecher says it is not from whence 
we come but what we are and where we are going, and St. Paul 
is all right at the present time, and is pressing forward to a 
growth unprecedented in her history, or in the history of any 
other city in the Northwest. 


I am trying to pick up the old stragglers so as to get them 
all in line at the muster call, and away back on the road side, 
sitting on the green grass and under the shade of an aged tree, 
is a somewhat bent form whose hair is gray and whose eyes are 
dim, and who ever and anon mutters to himself, " Yes, yes ; it is 
a long time ago, forty-eight years, near half a century, since I came 
here. Then there was no St. Paul ; no, no ; no whites ; no, no ; 
Indians, elm trees thickly skirting the river ; teepees, war songs 
and war dances ; hark ! I hear them now ! No, no ; only a 
passing thought ! Oh, dear, how the years have fled, and so my 
children tell me I'm getting old ; I guess I am." The breeze 
comes up from the river, the old man drops his head upon his 
staff, stray locks of long, gray hair float out from under his faded 
hat, he clutches his cane with his bony hands and dreamily 
w^anders off into the silent chambers of memory — and sleep ! 
He starts, rubs his eyes, looks around him, arouses up and feebly 
says : " I guess I've been dreaming ; yes, yes, I'll go home ; 
I'm growing old ;" and hobbling off slowly his form fades away 
and is lost in the mists of eternity — he's dead ! 

Mr. Gauthier was born in New York state in 1803 and was 
one of the original contractors of the Erie canal ; went to Texas 


in 1833 and to St. Louis in 1835, where he married ; was one of 
the first settlers in Dubuque in 1837, ^^^ removed to St. Paul in 
1838. He was an active and prominent man in St. Paul, 
especially in West St. Paul, where he platted an addition which 
will ever remain as a monument to his memory. He died in our 
city in 1884, 



First Marriage— FiTRl Birth — First Death— First Murder — First Steamboat — With 
all the Events and all the Old Settlers of iJus Year, 


People will marry, will kill, will die ; children will be born ; 
so it was in the past, so it will be in the future. Basil Gervais is 
acknowledged to be the first white child born in St. Paul, which 
event occurred September 4, 1839, ^^' forty-six years ago. He is 
still living. The first legal marriage was in April, 1839, or forty- 
six years ago — J. R. Clewett to Rose Perry. The first death and 
the first murder was Hays, by the Indian Do-wau, as herein 
noted. The crime was committed sometime in the month of 
September, 1839, and for many years Phelan had been falsely 
charged with the murder. The first steamboat arrived at Fort 
Snelling in 1823, or sixty-two years ago. Mrs. Jackson, widow 
of Henry Jackson, now the wife of John S. Hinkley, of Mankato, 
brought the first clock to Minnesota, in the year 1842, and has 
it with her yet. It has out-ticked the life of many an old settler 


and has continued ticking all these long years of various changes. 
It is different from "Grandfather's Old Clock," 

"Which stopped short, never to go again 
When the old man died, — 

but continues on in the even tenor of its way with its everlasting 
tick, tick, tick, tick ! 


Lying upon a couch at the residence of Mrs. Odell in West 
St. Paul, in the year 1884, was the emaciated form of a mulatto 
man about five feet six inches in height and weighing one 
hundred and fifty pounds. He was formerly a stout, healthy 
person, turning the scales above two hundred, but sickness and 
old age had conspired to leave but a semblance of what was once 
a hale and vigorous organization. His name was James Thomp- 
son ; in previous years a slave ; then a free man, but poor and 
dependent. From his lips I learned the following facts : 


He started out on a journey when a mere lad, with George 
Monroe, nephew of the President of the United States, and on 
arriving at Lexington, Kentucky, Monroe became involved in 
debt and was obliged to part with six of his slaves, among them 
was Thompson, his brother and sister, and several aunts and 
cousins. He was then conveyed to St. Louis and from thence 
moved to Fort Snelling as the property of John Culbertson, sut- 
ler, in 1827, or fifty-eight years ago, and was roaming about 
where St. Paul now is in 1839. He was purchased by Capt. 
Day, of the fort, and from this point went to Prairie du Chien, 
Wis., where he became the chattel of Rev. Mr. Bronson, who paid 
;^i,300 for him out of money collected at the East, and at this 
time he received his free papers and became a free man, having 
been sold four times. He was immediately employed as an inter- 
preter of the Sioux, and did a great deal to advance the religion 
of the Methodist church in the early days, as not only Mr. Bron- 
son was the minister of the church, but he (Thompson) was a 
member of the First Methodist Church, as well as a member of 
the Old Settlers' association in this city at the time of his death. 
He spoke in the highest praise of Mr. Bronson as a man who 


had many good qualities and whose kindness of heart and gen- 
erous acts he never could forget. 


Mr, Thompson said that during his long residence in this 
section he never had but one fight and that was over a pig, 
whom the notorious Phelan (after whom Phelan, not Phalan 
lake, was named,) had stolen. As soon as the fact was discov- 
ered by him, he repaired to the residence of the thief, which 
stood near Seven Corners, and finding his pig in a pen he 
knocked off the boards and the favorite quadruped trotted out 
and along home after him like a little dog, really glad to once 
more find his own master, Phelan was absent at the time, but 
learning that the pig was gone he became terribly enraged, and 
sought out Jackson and told him some one had stolen his pig. 
^*0h, I guess not," said Jackson; "the owner has got his pig, and 
I guess you will have to fight to get it back." "Well, I will 
fight," said Phelan, and down he went to where Thompson lived 
and charged him with stealing his pig. 

"It isn't your pig," said Thompson. 

"It is my pig," said Phelan, "and if you don't give it up I 
will lick you." 

"You can't do it," said Thompson. 

"Well, I will do it," replied the thief. 

"Now see here," said Phelan, "I will meet you here to-mor- 
row morning at 9 o'clock, and if you lick me the pig is yours, 
and if I lick you the pig is mine." 

"Agreed," said Thompson, and the two parted. And sure 
enough, the next morning at 9 o'clock Phelan was on hand and 
so was Thompson. Phelan was a long-legged and long-armed 
man, and so when the parties met he went for Thompson with 
his legs and feet, but Thompson dodged his many kicks, when, 
all of a sudden he siezed him by his nether extremity and imme- 
diately the brute and bully was upon the ground and Thompson 
pummelcd him with his fists so thoroughly that he called for 
mercy. On gaining his feet he acknowledged that the pig 
belonged to his antagonist and invited "the boys" to his shanty, 
(Thompson among the rest,) and treated them to five gallons of 
wine, and ever after that Thompson and Phelan were good 

OF ST. PA UL, 3nNN. 11 


Though a poor colored man, once a slave, yet he not only 
aided with his own hands to build the little Methodist church on 
Market street, but furnished 2,000 feet of lumber, and made out 
of the logs taken from the river, 1,500 shingles for the roof, and 
then gave a lot which he owned towards paying for the church. 
If the widow's mite was considered by the Saviour of the world 
a valuable gift, how much more so was the gift of this once 
poor slave, and yet he pined with sickness on a lowly couch, 
and finally partially recovering, removed to Nebraska, where 
Oct. 15th, 1884, he died, as also did his wife four days previ- 


Mr. Thompson also aided in erecting and constructing the 
first house in St. Paul, which was owned by Phelan and Hays, 
and stood near the Seven Corners. He also ran the first ferry 

phelan did not kill HAYS THE FIRST MURDER. 

It has been generally believed that Phelan killed Hays, his 
partner, but Mr. Thompson sets this matter to rest very decid- 
edly, by stating unequivocally, that an Indian by the name of 
Do-wau, the Singer, killed him, and when fatally shot at the 
battle of Kaposia this Indian, just before he died, admitted the 
deed. This is an important item of history, as it relieves Phelan 
of one of the many crimes charged to his account and verifies 
the old saying ''that murder will out." Hays' death was the first 
murder in the city. Phelan was arrested for the crime but never 
tried, as no positive evidence could be brought against him. 


Mr. Thompson said that the ground this side of the Capitol 
was not only marshy years ago, but that where the Church 
Hospital now stands, on Eighth street, near the property of Mrs. 
Robinson, there existed quite a large lake, whose outlet was 
down the ravine formerly where "Moffett's Castle" stood, but 
now occupied by the beautiful and imposing edifice of the First 
National Bank. Out of this lake he had drawn many beautiful 


fish. The verification of this fact by a hving witness would lead 
one to believe — looking upon the property now — that Donnel- 
ly's able and interesting Atlantis is true. 


Mr. Thompson must have been born in 1799 as he was 86 
years old when he died. He came to Fort Snelling in 1827, or 
58 years ago. His father, he thinks, must have been white or 
nearly so, while he has good reasons for the belief that he kept 
a noted hotel. Thompson married the mother of Mrs. Odell, 
(a hale old lady also dead,) in the year 1848, or thirty-seven 
years ago, by whom he had nine children, only one of whom 
(George, thirty-four years old,) survives. 


In personal appearance Mr. Thompson resembled Morton 
S. Wilkinson. He had a large, aquiline nose ; a high fore- 
head ; small, round eyes; a well-set mouth; with a peculiar 
movement incident to the late senator. Beside he was tall, 
slender, somewhat angular in his movements, and yet closely 
knit in his physical organization, showing that with proper care 
he might have lived at least ten years longer. His complexion 
was quite light, indicating Anglo Saxon blood ; and his whole 
make-up clearly showed that he was away above the ordinary 
when a southern slave, and fully equal both to the white or the 
Indian when a free man. He had played an important part in 
the history of our city and state, and during the fifty-seven years 
that he had trod our soil, I find nothing to mar a well-earned 
and excellent reputation, except, perhaps, the duel over that pig ! 
But as that was in defense of the weak and the helpless, so it 
only adds to his glory as a true man and benefactor of his race, 
for it taught the rough and bad Phelan to respect thereafter 
the rights of others. Once a slave ! A good man ! A brave 
pioneer! Life's measure full ! Going! Goodbye! 

** I'm coming! I'm coming! 
My hair is white as snow; 
I hear the angels calling — 
Poor old Joe! " 

And poor old Joe has been gathered to his fathers. 



Almost every day in the week can be seen upon our streets 
a very comely Indian woman somewhat bulky in form, but 
with a good countenance and pleasant expression, who comes 
to St. Paul from Mendota, where she lives, to traffic with our 
people in selling game and moccasins, and thereby obtain an 
honest livelihood. She is one of the aborigines of this country 
and is known among the whites as Lucy. When a babe in her 
mother's arms, a Chippewa rushed in upon them and killed her 
parent, and subsequently she married the brave Chaska, one ol 
Little Crow's leading warriors — indeed his best man. When the 
Indian outbreak took place in Minnesota in 1862, instigated by 
Little Crow, Chaska, although then in full Indian power, rushed 
into the store at Yellow Medicine and finding his friend George 
Spencer of this city driven up stairs, then wounded and in 
imminent danger of being killed, placed himself between that of 
his friend and his Indian comrades, and saved the life of Spencer ; 
hid him in the grass ; administered to his wants ; placed him out 
of danger, and then sought to save the lives of other whites, 
and succeeded. Chaska was commended for these acts, and 
subsequently was employed by Gen. Sibley to act as a scout with 
his expedition across the plains. He was either purposely or 
accidentally poisoned, (I have always thought the former,) while 
performing excellent duty even against his own people, and his 
body lies buried out on the plains, while his widow, Ta-ti, or 
Lucy, passes up and down our streets, scarcely noticed by the 
thousands who jostle her on the sidewalk. Several years ago 
I. V. D. Heard, Esq., General Sibley and others, sent a petition 
to congress to grant this poor widow a pension, but the members 
turned their backs upon it. Great and glorious country ! when 
the widow of a man like Chaska, who stepped out of his own 
ranks to save the lives of the whites, and did save them, can get 
no recognition at the hands of congress ! Millions can go into 
the vortex of illegal pensions, but not one dollar to the struggling 
wife of one of the noblest Indians that ever lived. I absolutely 
blush for the great American flag when it is tarnished by 
such flagrant acts of ingratitude, and this we call the glorious 
American republic ! — the President the Great Father of the 


untutored savage. But Chaska's name will live, and his deeds 
will live, long after small politicians have been swept into oblivion. 
Ta-ti can have no prouder monument to the memory of her dead 
husband than the reflection that at the most trying time in our 
history, " he was the noblest Roman of them all." 


Mr. Gervais was born in what is now St. Paul, September 
4, 1839, or forty-six years ago. Soon after his parents moved to 
Little Canada, a French settlement about ten miles from St. 
Paul, where he received a common school education. He has 
never been really a settler of this city having devoted most of his 
time to farming in White Bear township, where he now lives. He 
is the father of a large family and is in moderate circumstances. 

Mr. Gervais is a man of medium size, of light complexion 
and quite active in his motions and in his speech. Though the 
oldest settler in the county — not having lived in the city though 
born here — yet he has failed to accumulate any property out of 
the golden opportunities he has had, and still perhaps he is 
better off on his farm than the possessor of millions, for a vast 
estate always brings burdens which the poor and humble never 
know. " Will you take care of all my property for your board 
and clothes ? " asked John Jacob Astor of a complaining friend. 
*' Why no," he replied. " It's all I get," said Astor. 




First Act of the Military— First Priest — First Church— Including all the Events 

and all the Old Settlers of these Years, 


A few French families from the Red River of the North, who 
had settled on the Military Reservation of Fort Snelling, were forci- 
bly driven off by the soldiers in the year 1840, the government 
claiming that they had no rights there and that the reservation was 
for the military alone, and this was their first act against the whites. 
These families moved down to within the present limits of St. 
Paul. This same year J. R. Brown was elected to the Wisconsin 
legislature and in 1 840 the settlers had a representation among 
the law-making powers of our neighboring State of Wisconsin. 


- It was in this same year (1840,) that Phelan was brought up 
for trial in Crawford county, Wisconsin, for the murder of Hays, 
but as he never was arraigned, it is presumed that the grand 
jury could not find evidence to form a bill against him and he 
was set free. This act would seem to corroborate Thompson in 
the statement that Hays was killed by the Indian Do-wau, and 
not by Phelan. 


In chapter one I accorded to Pierre Parrant the honor of 
being the first white man who settled in St. Paul. His log 
house was erected on the banks of the Mississippi river, at the 
mouth of the small stream which flows from F^ountain cave near 


the present brewery of Mr. Banholzer in the upper part of the 
city, and just off the old Fort road, now the property of the 
Chicago, St. Paul & Omaha Railroad company. Here he sold 
whisky to the Indians and to the soldiers from Fort Snelling, 
and here he made his claim. He was followed by one Perry 
and family, who located near Parrant, and whose shanty stood 
where the old City Hospital now stands. It must be borne in 
mind that the treaty with the Indians ceding this property to the 
government, was made in June, 1837, (Parrant settled in 1838, 
others in 1839-40-41,) so that the land was then, in 1840, open 
to settlement ; and following Parrant and Perry (both Frenchmen 
from the Red river region,) came the Gervais brothers, Pierre 
and Ben, who made claims this side of Perry ; and following 
these came three discharged soldiers, Evans, Hays and Phelan, 
who also made claims ; two of them settling this side of the cave, 
while Evans took up his abode on Dayton's Bluff The claims 
of Hays and Phelan ran from the river to the bluff and took in 
what is now known as part of Third street in upper town, includ- 
ing Wabasha and Eagle streets, on the first plateau above the 
river. Then came a stranger by the name of Johnson, who built 
a house near where the gas works now stand ; and then, in 1839, 
followed an Englishman by the name of James R. Clewett, who 
married Perry's daughter, and thus commenced the first settle- 
ment of St. Paul, about forty -seven years ago. 

pig's eye. 

I have already noted the fact, that Pierre Parrant moved to 
a place called Pig's Eye, (so named after his peculiar optic,) 
about three miles below St. Paul. Here settled in 1839 some 
fifteen Frenchmen then in the employ of the old American Fur 
company. Pig's Eye is only noted now as the place where a 
sand bar intercepts the navigation of the Mississippi river. St. 
Paul for a time was called Pig's Eye, but this gave way to a 
more euphonious name which is still cherished by the city. Pre- 
vious to moving to Pig's Eye Parrant made other claims in the 
city, of which I shall speak hereafter. 


It is an indisputable fact that the early settlers of our city 


were Canadian French, and most of them came from the North 
and were a hardy, bold, brave class of men. A French fort was 
built at Lake Pepin, also at the mouth of the Le Sueur river. They 
were trappers and voyageurs and inured to frontier life. Among 
those whose memory is greatly cherished by some of the oldest 
settlers in this city, is that of the gentleman whose name precedes 
this paragraph. Mr. Guerin was born in Canada in 1812 ; entered 
the service of the American Fur Company in 1832; reached 
Mendota the same year ; served the Company three years and 
•continued about this section for some time afterward, when he 
settled upon the claim previously made by the discharged soldier 
Hays, and built his cabin where IngersoU's block now stands, 
sometime in the year 1 840. Then trees and brush and a good- 
sized forest greeted his view where now is a busy mart of 
trade and of commerce. Before his death he lived in a small, 
■one-story and a half house built after the French fashion, which 
stood on the ground now occupied by a large building owned by 
the late Dr. Steele, corner of Seventh and Wabasha streets. 


I remember Mr. Guerin as a slender man, with sharp fea- 
tures, a mobile face, cool and slow in his movements, quiet in his 
manners, and unostentatious in his dress. He was an unselfish 
man, kindly disposed, yet decisive in his character, and lived a 
quiet, unobtrusive life. As an illustration of his generous 
impulses I state the fact, that he gave part of his claim to an old 
friend who erected a cabin where Mr. Goodhue's house formerly 
stood, corner of Third and St. Peter streets, but subsequently this 
friend sold his part of the claim for ;^i50. 


In 1849 the rise in the value of Mr. Guerin's property — that 
is his claim — made him worth ^150,000, but it did not change 
the quiet, humble citizen, who, out of his newly acquired wealth 
gave liberally. The land whereon our present Court House 
stands, and where several churches rear their spires heavenward, 
was cheerfully given by this really good man. He was generous 
to his poor countrymen, and many remember him with grateful 
hearts. He was unlike other Frenchmen ; more cool in his 


manner; and when surrounded by danger from the Indians, (and 
he had many narrow escapes in this direction,) he exhibited a 
calmness, which, in view of his nationahty, was truly marvelous. 


Immediately after the marriage of Mr. Guerin to a daughter 
of Mr. Perry, he lived in his cabin, which, as I have already 
written, stood just where Ingersoll's block now stands. Wil- 
liams, in his history, says : **A few rods from Guerin's cabin 
was Parrant's establishment, and the powerful nature of the 
Minnewakan he sold the Indians there, used to turn them some- 
times into red demons. In one of their crazy sprees the Indians 
killed Guerin's cow and pig, and destroyed other property. 
Indeed, the lives of Guerin and his bride were oftentimes in 
danger, and their honeymoon was somewhat a stormy one, take 
it all in all. These devilish sprees of the Indians occurred 
occasionally for several years. Once, when Mrs. Guerin was 
nursing her first child, about two months old, some nine or 
ten Indians made an attack on the house and tried to kill Guerin. 
They broke in the window and attempted to crawl in. Mrs. G. 
concealed herself under the bed expecting to be murdered. 
Guerin seized an axe and was about to brain the first pagan 
whose head appeared through the window. This would have 
been a very unfortunate affair for Guerin had it happened, but, 
luckily, before any bloodshed occurred a friendly chief named 
" Hawk's Bill," came up and remonstrated with the drunken 
brutes, urging them to leave. While they were parleying Mr. 
and Mrs. Guerin, with the child, slipped out of the door and 
fled to Mr. Gervais' house. The Indians then went away, after 
shooting Guerin's dog with arrows." 

" At another time Guerin was leaning on the gate-post of his 
garden when some drunken Indians coming up Bench street hill 
fired at him, a ball struck the post making a narrow escape for 
Guerin. Again, as he opened his door one morning, an iron- 
headed arrow whizzed past his head and stuck in the door jam.'* 


I quote these Indian attacks to bring more vividly to the mind 
of the reader the great changes made in our city inside of forty 


years. The imagination can readily picture In the past a few 
log cabins amidst forest trees, nearly half a mile apart, with 
Indian teepees and drunken Indians themselves prowling about 
on our present Bridge Square, where now can be found all the 
paraphernalia of civilized life. Those humble huts have g ven 
place to stately edifices of commerce, and where the infuriated 
savages sought the innocent lives of Guerin and his family, can 
now be found silks and satins, and where the forest trees inter- 
cepted travel can at present be seen street cars and the glare of 
the electric light! AH the old cabins are gone! The occupants 
are gone ! The trees are gone ! The Indians are gone ! But 
still civilization increases and the city grows! 


Ten years ago I used to see Mr. Guerin walking our streets; 
interested in our growth ; pleasant in speech ; aiding every public 
enterprise ; a really noble citizen. And even later along in life 
when his property was taken from him and he became poor, he 
still maintained his honor, his manhood, his integrity. He died 
in 1870, aged 58 years, and the Common Council of St. Paul, for 
which city he had done so much in the shape of donations of 
real estate, very properly and justly erected a monument to his 
memory, and in the Catholic cemetery repose all that were 
once the material elements of Vetal Guerin. 


Having been driven by the soldiers from his location near 
Fountain cave, Parrant took another claim running back from 
the river and including the present real estate from Minnesota 
to Jackson streets. He built a cabin on the edge of the bluff" 
near Robert street, where he sold whisky, and finally disposed 
of this claim to Ben Gervais for ten dollars ! This property is 
now worth several millions of dollars ; certainly not less than 
$3,000,000, and so goes the world ! We can all see better 
behind than before, and even if we see ahead we very often lack 
the financial means necessary to secure a good thing, or even 
hold on to that which we have. If Parrant had drank a barrel 
of his own whisky, and it hadn't killed him, and he had gone 
to bed and slept until the present time, on waking up he would 


have found himself a rich man ! But he didn't do it, and he 
didn't hold his claim, and he didn't get rich ! And what are 
you going to do about it? Nothing! It is the old story 
Who has not told it and who has not heard it over and over 
again ? If — and if — and if — 


This was one of the old settlers who was driven off the Fort 
Snelling reservation and who made his home in St. Paul in 
1 840. He had seven children, and there was nothing particu- 
larly remarkable about him except that he was a hard-working 
man and had many misfortunes. He died in 1849 at the age of 
seventy-five years. 


This was the only son of Abram Perry (there being six 
daughters,) and he never resided in the city a great while, but is 
now living and has a farm on the shores of Lake Johanna, some 
ten miles from St. Paul. Of course he remembers the place as 
it was, but he never dreamed of its present growth. He is an 
unsophisticated farmer, living almost outside the limits of civili- 
zation and probably enjoying himself better there than amid the 
dazzling splendor of city life. He is certainly better off than he 
would have been if he had owned half the land upon which St. 
Paul now stands, for he has escaped a vast amount of vexatious 
and untiring labor. 


Mr. Rondo was born in Canada of French parents in 1807, 
received a slight education when a boy, and at the age of 18 
years engaged to the Hudson Bay Company as a voyageur and 
was sent to the Pacific coast. In 1827 he settled in among the 
Red river colony near Fort Gary, and married a Koontanais 
mixed blood and became a farmer. He left Canada as a refugee 
and came to Fort Snelling in 1835, or forty years ago, near which 
he opened a farm. Having no possessory rights upon the Fort 
Snelling military reservation, he with others came to St. Paul in 
1840, and at first purchased a little tract now in the heart of the 
city, which he sold and took a claim on land at present embrac- 

OF ST. PA UL, 3nNN. 21 

ing largely Rice street and that reaching out toward Lake Como, 
and the tract is now called Rondo's addition to St. Paul. It 
was mostly a marsh with a large number of small tamarac trees 
upon it, but they have all been cut off and the marsh has disap- 
peared. He first built a small wooden house near Carroll street, 
and then, as he got along financially, erected a peculiar small 
French brick house with a projecting roof and verandas, which 
have only given way to improvements within the past few years. 
This unpretending building has been absorbed now into a large 
brick house which has been erected on the spot of his dear old 
home. Although Mr. Rondo at one time owned a good deal of 
property yet he never was well off but lived humbly and worked 
hard all his life-time. He has many descendants, some of whom 
live here now. He was an honest and hard-working man. At 
the time of his death he was 88 years old, and was the oldest 
living settler in St. Paul in the year 1885. 


Mr. De Mair was born on the Red River of the North in 
181 3 ; when a boy his parents moved to Prairie du Chien and he 
arrived at Mendota in 1838, and was married in 1840 to Jose- 
phine Cloquet ; took up that year 160 acres in what is now the 
city of St. Paul, where the University avenue car barn stands ; 
traded his claim in 1842 for a horse and wagon ; from 1839 to 
1842 carried mail from Fort Snelling to about where Winona 
is at present ; after he disposed of his claim he took another 
where Calvary cemetery now is ; remained there about five years ; 
sold that for a team of horses valued at ^300 ; then took another 
piece of land about seven miles towards White Bear lake and 
resided there about five years ; sold this land for ;^30 and never 
received the money; went to St. Peter in 1852 and lived there 
until 1877, when he removed to Wisconsin; then came back to 
St. Paul and at present lives in a small house on Winnipeg ave- 
nue. He killed thirty-two deer one fall where part of St. Paul 
now is, and away back in 1837, or forty-eight years ago, he saved 
the life of Rev. Father Ravoux near where La Crosse now 




Most if not all the men I have already mentioned, came to 
St. Paul during the year 1840; but in 1841 appeared Pierre 
Bottineau, who purchased a tract of land known now only in 
history as Baptist hill, because a Baptist church had been erected 
thereon but of which no vestige at present remains. Where the 
church stood can be seen the imposing building of Wilder & 
Merriam, on Sibley street, occupied by Nicols & Dean. Bot- 
tineau's father was a French Canadian and his mother was a 
Chippewa woman, and with the blood of these two flowing in his 
veins he was a somewhat remarkable man. He was in the 
employ of Gen. Sibley as guide and interpreter in 1837, and sub- 
sequently became famous in conducting expeditions across the 
plains, as he spoke all the Indian languages and had traveled 
over almost every foot of the great Northwest. On leaving St. 
Paul he made a claim at St. Anthony, and then established a set- 
tlement at what is now known as " Bottineau's Prairie." He is 
a large man physically as I remember him, with a prominent face 
and head, straight black hair and piercing eyes, and a swarthy 
complexion. An odd contrast to this appearance is his exceeding 
pleasant smile which nearly always radiates his face. He has 
the characteristics of the bear and the gentleness of the woman, 
and if alive, as I think he is, he must be a man 74 years old. He 
is a noble link of the past, as he combines the French, the Indian 
and the American, in, all his elementary peculiarities. One of 
the best things which can be said of Bottineau is, he was always 
true to his trusts, and that of itself is a noble monument to any 


Don't be startled, reader, but it is a fact that slaves once trod 
the free soil of Minnesota, and what is more remarkable still, is 
the fact that the famous Dred Scott, about whom Chief Justice 
Taney made such a singular decision, viz : *' that negroes had no 
rights which white men were bound to respect," was once the 


-slave of Surgeon Emerson, stationed at Fort SnelHng, Minne- 
sota. At that early day nobody interfered with the slaves owned 
by the officers, and yet they were really slaves and were treated 
as such. A young negro by the name of Thompson, was owned 
by an officer at the fort and was subsequently sold at Prarie du 
•Chien, Wis., to Mr. Bronson, for ;^ 1,200, and he was afterwards 
used as an interpreter of the Sioux language. To the credit of 
Minnesota be it said, that no slave was ever bought or sold on 
our soil, and yet it was a common thing for the officers at the 
Fort to bring their slaves with them as personal property, as under 
the law they were. Mr. Thompson formerly lived in St. Paul, 
but moved to Nebraska, where he and his wife died in 1884. 
(See Chapter II.) In the meantime let us bless God that slavery 
is dead! 


Among those who came to Minnesota but not to reside 
permanently in St. Paul, between 1830 and 1841, were Joseph 
R. Brown, dead, in 1825, or 60 years ago; Norman W. Kittson, 
living, in 1832, or 53 years ago; H. H. Sibley, living, in 1834, or 
51 years ago; Wm. H. Forbes, Martin McLeod and Franklin 
Steele, all dead, in 1837, 01* 4^ years ago; Henry M. Rice, liv- 
ing, VVm. Holcombe, dead, 1839, or 46 years ago. Five of 
these oldest settlers subsequently moved to St. Paul and have 
played an important part in her progress and in her destiny. 


In the year 1841 — forty-four years ago — the Catholics of 
Dubuque, la., conscious of the existence of a settlement in this 
then far off region, sent out Rev. Lucian Galtier to establish a 
mission at Fort Snelling, and this good man, finding a group of 
his own nationality and religion where St. Paul now is, erected 
a small church of tamarac poles, " so poor," he writes, " it would 
remind one of the stable at Bethlehem." This simple structure 
was dedicated on Nov. i, 1841, or 44 years ago, and named the 
"Chapel of St. Paul." It stood on the bluff overlooking the 
Mississippi river, on what is now known as Bench street, and 
near the rear end of the PioJteer Press building. It was a 
-genuine log cabin, with one door for entrance, two windows on 


each side, a cross at the front on the cornice, and the old picture 
of it makes a striking contrast either with the present cathedral 
or the more modern and more expensive German Catholic 
Church, which cost in the neighborhood of $300,000. At the 
dedication of this chapel the reverend father expressed a wish 
that the place then known as 'Tig's Eye" might be named 
"St. Paul," and from this little incident the city received the- 
name it now bears and which name has become familiar 
throuorhout the land. 


My history would be incomplete without a biographical 
sketch of the first priest who commenced his religious teachings 
in the city of St. Paul. Speaking of him. Rev. John Ireland 
says: " Galtier was born in France in 1811 ; was a student of 
theology in his native diocese, when Bishop Loras, of Dubuque, 
Iowa, came to Europe in quest of missionaries ; that those who 
were persuaded to follow him to America and do missionary 
work, were Rev. Joseph Cretin, afterwards Bishop of St. Paul ; 
Rev. Joseph Pelamourgues ; Rev. A. Ravoux, now vicar general 
of St. Paul, and Rev. L. Galtier. The latter left Dubuque for 
Fort Snelling on the 26th of April, 1840, and as he himself 
WTites : ** There was then no St. Paul ; there was on the site of 
the present city but a single log house occupied by a man named 
Phelan, and steamboats never stopped there." Not finding many 
settlers above the Fort on the St. Peter river, he continued in an 
unsettled condition at that place until several families had made 
locations on the Mississippi river, below Fountain Cave, as 
described in a previous article. He says : " Already a few 
parties had opened farms in this vicinity, (that is near the cave,) 
and added to these the new accessions formed quite a little settle- 
ment. Among the occupants of this ground were Rondo, Vetal 
Guerin, Pierre Bottineau, the Gervais brothers, etc. I deemed it 
my duty to visit occasionally these families, and set to work to 
choose a suitable spot for a church." The place of the church 
was soon selected as hitherto described, and the building erected. 
Writing to Bishop Grace, of this city, he says : " On the first of 
November, in the year 1841, I blessed the new basilica and dedi- 
cated it to St. Paul, the apostle ot nations. I expressed a wish 


at the same time that the settlement should be known thereafter 
by the same name, and my desire was obtained. The name 
*' St. Paul" as applied to a town or city, seemed appropriate. The 
monosyllable is short, sounds well, and is understood by all 
denominations of Christians. When Mr. Guerin was married, 
I published the bans as being those of a resident of St. Paul. 
It was named afterwards " St. Paul Landing," and later on St. 
Paul. When some time ago an effort was made to change the 
name I did all I could to oppose the project." 

In 1848 Mr. Galtier went back to France and returning soon 
after was stationed at Prairie du Chien. He visited St. Paul in 
1853 and again in 1855, and soon after died. He was never a 
permanent settler of St. Paul, but I place him among the settlers 
of 1 84 1, at the time he blessed the first church. 


Those who knew him speak of him as a man of great 
decision of character, with a rather strong cast of countenance, 
large mouth and overshadowing eyebrows. His head sat upon 
his shoulders like a military chieftain, and he was well chosen to 
mould and control a heterogeneous mass of men whose lives had 
been spent almost exclusively upon the frontier. He was a well 
proportioned man, with a fixed determination to accomplish 
what he undertook, and he succeeded. Years have fled, changes 
have been made, the first little, crude log church and the first 
honest, self-sacrificing priest have passed away, but both will 
ever live in history made doubly dear by the noble achievements 
of Rev. Lucian Galtier. 


Very few of our citizens who notice a tall, spare man, with 
a long, flowing coat and taking extended strides upon our 
streets, ever wielding a cane in a peculiar manner, now throwing 
it out from the arm, and then bringing it down upon the pave- 
ment as he moves along, would suppose that this was Very Rev. 
Father Ravoux, who came to St. Paul in 1841, or forty-four 
years ago ; and yet his face is familiar to all the old settlers and 
his kind voice has been heard in many a lowly hovel. In active 
missionary work in our city and State, he ranks next to Rev. 


Galtier. Indeed, I may say, in his special line of duty he excels 
him. He was born in France in 1815, and is consequently 
seventy years old. In 1838 he offered his services to Bishop 
Loras, of Dubuque, then in Europe, as a missionary in the West, 
and soon after entered upon his duties, preaching in various 
parts of the then territory ; learning the Sioux language ; printing 
books in the Sioux tongue ; unfolding the gospel to the savages 
by interpreters, and in 1842 returned to Mendota, and for some 
time thereafter took the place of Mr. Galtier, who was absent at 
Lake Pepin. Among the books he printed in the Indian lan- 
guage, was one with a very peculiar title, viz : **Wa-Kan-tan-Ka 
ti Cancu," meaning, " Path to the House of God." He was well 
adapted to mingle with the Indians, as he readily learned their 
language and by his mild and gentle disposition won their 
regard. On the removal of Rev. Galtier from his mission at 
Mendota, Father Ravoux took his office and preached alter- 
nately at the former place and in this city, and had under his 
charge Mendota, St. Paul, Lake Pepin and St. Croix, until the 
arrival of Bishop Cretin in 185 1. 


Father Ravoux is a marked character upon the streets, or 
anywhere else. His dress indicates his calling. With a kind, 
benevolent face, broad forehead and slender body, he moves 
along with the aid of his walking stick, with all the agility of a 
man of forty. He is a strong orthodox upholder of the Cath- 
olic Church and believes in the positive punishment of all 
violators of the law of God ; or at least what he honestly thinks 
to be the law of God. Several years ago he was engaged in 
arranging some drapery in the church and had his mouth full 
of pins, when he fell and some of these pins passed down mto 
his wind pipe and some stuck in his throat, and he has suffered 
more or less from this accident ever since. It has affected his 
preaching somewhat, but still he has performed great labors in 
the field and in the church, and is yet a grand, venerable speci- 
men of an old-time Catholic priest. My religion is broad 
enough to accept good from any church, no matter what its 
denomination may be, and as the Catholic church early 
moulded the morals of the young St. Paul, so it is a source 


of great pleasure to record the meritorious claims it has upon 
the public sympathy. At least the earliest religious teachers 
and the earliest religious pioneers were of the Catholic Church, 
and history demands nothing less than this recognition. 



First Name of St. Paul — First Shingled Roof Building — First American Flag- 
Incidents and Old Settlers. 


The man who proposed the name of St. Paul in lieu of 
" Pig's Eye " for our city, ougnt to be canonized in history and 
his name handed down, as it will be, to many generations yet 
unborn. Just think of the " Grand Pig's Eye Opera House ! " or 
the sweet, charming ladies of " Pig's Eye ! " or the " State Capital 
at Pig's Eye!" or the "^100,000 mansion on one of the broad 
avenues of Pig's Eye !" or the *' head of navigation at Pig's Eye ! " 
But then it might have been had not the good Catholic priest 
Galtier gallantly come to the rescue, and proposed and insisted 
that the name should be — St. Paul. He did not think that 
the future of the then embryo city would end — *' in a Pig's 
Eye ! " — and so he gave it the name of the great Apostle after 
whose teachings he himself followed. I accord to Galtier great 
praise for suggesting the name, and greater praise still for the 
utter obliteration of that horrid expression, " Pig's Eye ! " as in 
any way applied to our present city. 


In 1842, or forty-three years ago, the population I have 
described, was made greatly more respectable by the arrival of 


Henry Jackson, who, according to Yankee ideas, established a 
store of general merchandize, including liquid goods, and for a 
time, in 1846, or thirty-nine years ago, was postmaster, and 
allowed letters to be deposited in a candle-box two feet square, 
out of which each customer helped himself. People must have 
been more honest then than now, or there were a less number of 
drafts going through the mails, for I do not hear of any one 
losing money at this early day, except at the gaming table. Each 
one took his own letters and left the others. If this system were 
adopted now most people would, no doubt, make an improvement 
upon the past, by taking somebody else's letters and leaving 
their own. 


As I remember Jackson he was a short, thick-set man, slow 
in speech, quiet in his movements, with a florid complexion, and a 
mouth full of tobacco. He was generalissimo of all he owned 
— a sort of walking encyclopedia condensed, political and other- 
wise — and a man to whom others looked for general information. 
He filled the measure of his usefulness in this city, and if my mem- 
ory serves me aright removed to Mankato. I well remember, in 
making a political speech at that place in 1854, or thirty-one years 
ago, I charged the removal of the Indians to that section (then 
an unpopular measure,) to the influence of Hon. H. M. Rice, and 
these charges were based upon information received from the 
then Gov. Willis A. Gorman, now dead. At the end of my speech 
a man in the audience arose and said, " that the speaker talked 
fluently and well, but that he could tell more lies in a given time 
than any man he ever heard." It was Jackson — and he was 
right. I had been honestly lying, and did not know it, but sub- 
sequently learned that my information was incorrect, and hence 
I had done Mr. Rice a great injustice which I took an early 
occasion afterwards to correct. [Further information shows 
that it was P. K. Johnson who interrupted me, and not 


Jackson was born in Virginia in 181 1, and was a self-made 
man, possessing considerable fun, well versed in human nature, 


and very hospitable. As an illustration of the humorous element of 
his character, it is said of him that before his commission arrived as 
Justice of the Peace, a couple applied to him to get married, but 
he told them he could not perform the ceremony unless they 
gave him a bond agreeing to return after his commission had 
been received and be legally married over again. They consent- 
ed to do this and he pronounced them man and wife — by proxy. 
The bond was given, and the much married couple departed, but 
whether they returned to Jackson again is a mooted question. I 
guess they didn't. 

In his early days Jackson went to Texas and engaged in 
the war there, and then drifted to New York, Wisconsin, Illinois 
and finally Minnesota. His log store stood upon the bluff just 
back of the Fire and Marine Insurance building on Jackson 
street, and here he did considerable trading with the Indians and 
the whites, and became a man of considerable importance. In 
1843 1^^ ^v^s made justice of the peace; in 1846 postmaster; in 
1847 elected member of the Wisconsin Assembly, which office he 
held two years ; later he was a member of our town council and 
of the Territorial Legislature. He married Miss Angelina Bivins 
in 1838, who still survives him, and died in 1857 at Mankato, 
Minn. Jackson was a natural pioneer; easy, good natured and 
very social. I remember him as a man sensitive as to points of 
honor and strongly devoted to his friends. Jackson street in 
this city was named after him. 


In the year 1884 I met the widow of Mr. Jackson on 
the streets of St. Paul, then the guest of Mrs. John R. Irvine. 
She is a sprightly, well preserved lady, full of kindness and affa- 
bility, and remembers distinctly many interesting reminiscences 
of St. Paul, some of which I hope to be able to give to my 
readers in succeeding chapters of Pen Pictures. 


Among the early settlers who came to St. Paul in 1 842, was 
Sergeant Richard W\ Mortimer, an Englishman by birth and a 
man of good education. On migrating to this country he secured 
a position in the United States army, and finally followed the 


soldiers to Fort Snelling, where he remained for some time, and 
then moved to St. Paul, opening up with the money he had 
saved while in the army, a stock farm on a small scale and also 
a store. The first shingled roof building was his, then standing 
on the corner of Third and Market streets, where Simmon's drug 
store can now be seen. Mortimer lost money in his enterprise, 
because he was progressive in his nature, and beside, he was 
simply ahead of the country, ahead of the city and ahead of the 
times. He lost sight of the fact that the poverty of the people 
would prevent them from sustaining him in his new departure^ 
so he finally spent his money without any adequate recompense, 
became dissatisfied with his lot, regretted he had ever left the 
army, and pined away and died at the early age of 43 years. He 
was loyal to the country of his adoption and paid ;^35 for the 
first stars and stripes that ever floated over St. Paul, and when 
this flag was struck down he was ready to shoot the villain on 
the spot, and would have done so if he had not been prevented. 
Mortimer's $5,000 dwindled to nothing in 1842, but if he were 
alive to-day with his money and his experience, and could majce 
the same investment he made then, (eighty acres between St. 
Peter and Washington streets,) a good round fortune would 
crown his efforts. Some reap while others toil ; some toil and 
reap nothing ; others gather plentifully out of sheer good luck, 
while thousands pine and suffer for the necessaries of life. What 
a long train of trouble, and trial, and toil, and disaster, and finan- 
cial ruin has led to the present prosperity of St. Paul, and how 
little we think of it ; and still it is a law, and the law goes on and 
we go on with it, until at last we shall all be lost in the great 
whirpool of oblivion. 


The new comers to this city of rapid growth and unparal- 
leled prospective greatness, can scarcely realize that only a few 
years ago Indians trod our streets, or rather traveled over the 
ground where our streets now are, at times gloating over their 
bloody battles, or dangling the reeking scalp of a new-fallen foe 1 
And yet such is the fact ! It should be remembered by the reader, 
that the Sioux and the Chippewas have always been enemies 
— that the former owned the land on the west side of the river 


and the latter that on the east ; that whenever one tribe killed a 
member of another tribe, revenge followed, and growing out of 
this many bloody battles were fought. Now in the first place, 
three Sioux were killed at Fort Snelling by the Chippewas, who 
lay in ambush to take their scalps. In retaliation for this the 
Sioux penetrated the Chippewa country to punish their enemy, 
but were beaten. To revenge this raid the Chippewas determined 
to attack the Sioux villige of Little Crow, at Kaposia, a few 
miles on the west side of the river below St. Paul, but, before 
they reached the village a battle took place on the east side of 
the river, known as Red Rock. The Chippewas numbered about 
1 50 warriors. Near where they made their first halt to recon- 
noiter they killed two Sioux women, who were in the field hoeing 
corn, and cut off the head of a little boy, son of one of the 
women. The firing of guns at this point aroused the Sioux at 
the village, and they prepared for the combat. Rushing across 
the river they met the Chippewas and the battle became fijrious 
and lasted nearly three hours, when the Chippewas fled, leaving 
ten or twelve of their dead upon the field. The Sioux lost about 
twenty of their men, but they continued their pursuit of the flying 
Chippewas for a number of miles, and then returned to their 
village. I gleaned these facts from the late Thomas Odell, of 
West St. Paul, who died from the effects of a cancer about two 
years ago. Mr. Odell was fully cognizant of all the incidents 
of this engagement, and no doubt they can be relied upon, at 
least in all their main features, as correct. 

different scenes now. 

Different scenes now meet the eye of the citizen and the 
stranger. No Indians prowl about our city, except perhaps a 
few half-civilized squaws from Mendota, and no rumor of an 
Indian outbreak causes excitement in our midst. On the same 
ground where the teepee stood is now the building of a majestic 
wholesale establishment, and where the wild men of the forest 
once held their war-dances, now glows in beauty and in grandeur 
our new and splendid opera house. Church bells in 70 towers 
drown the yell of savage revenge in the startling war whoop, 
while the white-winged dove of peace cooes in solemn grandeur 
over the graves of a departed race. 




First Oldest Settler Living— First Meat Market— First Four Log Huts. 


In chapter number four I brought the reader down to the 
year 1842, or 204 years from the time Louis Hennepin first 
visited this locaHty, and the first time the first white man set 
foot upon soil where now grows in grandeur and in greatness 
the city of St. Paul. 


Among the oldest of the old settlers was Donald McDon- 
ald, of Scotch descent, born in Canada in 1803, and who died 
in 1884, at the ripe age of eighty years. He was at one time in 
the employ of both the Hudson and the American Fur Com- 
panies ; traveled and traded very extensively throughout the 
Northwest, and claims to have put up the third house on the 
east side of the Mississippi on ground now occupied by St. 
Paul. He then laid claim to the land formerly owned by the 
late Stephen Denoyer, or better known where the old Half-way 
House now stands, a few miles outside of the city, on the well 
known St. Anthony road. He sold this land to Denoyer " for a 
barrel of whisky and two Indian guns," the said land now 
being worth not less than $500,000 ! Poor Mc. I did not know 
him personally, but learn he was a brawny Scotchman, strong, 
venturesome, and exceedingly fond of a roving life. He mar- 
ried a half-breed, and after raising a large family of children, 
stepped across the Stygian river to continue again his travels in 
another world. 



During the year 1842 a Canadian voyageur, known only by 
the name of '' Old Pelon," drifted to the young city and became 
the bar-keeper of Jackson. Mr. Goodhue, the first editor, spoke 
of him as follows : "At that time all sorts of liquors were sold 
out of the same decanter, and a stranger coming into the store 
once, asked Pelon if he had any confectionery? Pelon, not 
knowing the meaning of the word, supposed it was some kind 
of liquor, passed out the decanter of whisky to his customer, 
saying : " Oui, Monsieur, here is confecshawn, ver good, superb, 
magnifique." The stranger didn't drink but Pelon did, and 
continued to do so until his appetite and his old age laid him in 
the grave. 


Bilanski was a Polander. His claim was known as " Oak 
Point," near the present machine shops of the St. Paul & Duluth 
Railroad Company, or better known now as Arlington Heights. 
He was a lover of women, having married four, from three of 
whom he had obtained divorces, but one morning he was found 
dead, and on investigation it was proved, at least by circum.- 
stantial evidence, that he had been poisoned by his wife, who was 
arrested for the crime on the evidence of a servant girl, tried and 
convicted of murder, and was hung in i860. 


Mr. Irvine came to this city in the winter of 1843, ^^'^ ^i^^ 
Jackson, his friend, of whom I wrote in my last chapter, brought 
with him a load of groceries, which he soon disposed of. He was 
born in Danville, N. Y., in 18 12, and combined the trades of the 
blacksmith and the plasterer. In the latter capacity I knew him. 
He purchased a claim of land embracing about 300 acres, (pay- 
ing ^300 for it,) occupying nearly all of what is now known as 
upper St. Paul, and his log house, built after the French fashion, 
stood on the corners of West Third and Franklin streets. Then 
trees and brush and running streams made ingress to or egress 
from his home very difficult. On the flats below Third street, 
designated the " upper levee," was a dense forest of elm trees, 
only one of which is left as a memory of the past. Rings on 


these trees have been counted up to as high as 600, making them 
not less than 600 years old. Most of these trees were cut 
off by Mr. Irvine and sold to steamboats. Along the base of the 
hill, skirting Summit avenue, were cedar and tamarac ; all have 
disappeared. From Mr. Irvine's house in back to the bluff, 
including the ground now occupied by the German Catholic 
Church, and from the Seven Corners, also including a good por- 
tion of Pleasant and College avenues, and indeed reaching down 
Seventh and Eighth streets and below Jackson, was a bog mire 
impossible to travel. Now this property is one of the most 
valuable in the city. Mr. Irvine accumulated other property on 
Summit avenue and elsewhere, and the combined value of all his 
real estate, had he held it, would have reached the sum of 
$3,000,000, He gave the city the ground for Irvine Park, which 
bears his name. 


I remember Mr. Irvine as one of the people; a man of no 
ostentation; a laborer; always working; never idle; quiet in 
manners ; strictly temperate, and very even in his every-day toil. 
He was a man of ordinary physical development, somewhat 
compact, cool and deliberate in speech, and eternally and ever- 
lastingly doing something. He was a member of the Legislature, 
and although not a brilliant man yet possessed a good fund of 
common sense. During the financial crash he, with many others, 
became involved, but worked out of it. He erected the laree 
building on the corner of Eagle and Third streets, known as 
Flat-iron Block ; was engaged for a time in banking, and finally, 
when in the midst of his greatest labors, was taken sick and died, 
at a good old age, reaching about 66 years, leaving some five or 
six girls, all of whom have married well. Mr. Irvine had three 
brothers who are still living. 


There is nothing to me more beautiful than a serene and 
hallowed old age, and never am I more forcibly reminded of this 
than when I meet the cheerful and pleasant face of the former 
Miss Nancy Galbraith, now the respected widow of John R. 
Irvine. In looking on her clear complexion and into her bright 


eye and marking her pleasant smile, one can hardly realize that 
this is the mother of a large family, and the woman of pioneer 
life who forty odd years ago lived in a wilderness ; who, though 
surrounded w^ith early hardships and adversity has braved them 
all, brought up an excellent bevy of children, and now is gliding 
gently down the hill of life, loved by all who know and esteem 
her ; and also by the public at large for her many virtues. She 
lives on Summit avenue with all the comforts life can give, and 
I only hope she may be spared many years more to enjoy the 
laurels she has so justly earned. 


A few itinerant persons came to St. Paul previous to Simp- 
son, but soon after left. Among these were Coy, Blanchard, 
Magee, etc., whom I need not designate as old settlers, but only 
driftwood on the boisterous waves of adventure. Simpson, 
whom I may class among those who came to Minnesota in 
1842, and to St. Paul in 1843, formerly kept a warehouse on 
the levee, corner of Sibley street. He was a small, thin, spare 
man, possessing business qualities, and somewhat in advance of 
the times. His early education had been more of the ministerial 
character (being a Methodist), than the commercial, but he 
finally drifted into the hard-tack groove of life, and died soon 
after taking off his harness. He was born in Virginia in 1818. 
He once owned an acre where Union block now stands, and 
subsequently purchased a tract between Baptist hill and the 
Merchants hotel, where he built a house and lived and died. 
Only two years ago the house was torn down and a small 
parcel of ground upon which it was situated was sold for 
$90,000. A new and costly building has been erected on the 
old site adjoining Mr. Drake's building on Fourth street, and 
where Simpson unthinkingly planted, the present owners will 
reap thousands of dollars, as the property is located in the 
busiest part of the city. He paid $200 for the tract; its present 
value is $200,000 — the rise of the real estate in forty-two years ! 
Mr. Simpson at one time was County Treasurer, and performed 
his duties to the satisfaction of all. He married a niece of Louis 
Robert, a Miss Denoyer, who survives him, and who has been 
placed in comfortable circumstances by the recent sale of the 
old homestead. He died in 1870, aged fifty-two years. 



Simpson became frightened when the cholera first made its 
appearance at our levee, in the year 1854 or 5, as he had much 
to do with steamboats and several cases came from the boats. 
I remember one poor fellow in the last stages of the disease, 
lying and apparently dying upon the ground, deserted. With a 
good Samaritan I went to him, gave him some whisky, with 
powdered charcoal and sugar, and to the surprise of all he 
recovered. Years afterward he met me, hale and hearty, and 
his gratitude was unbounded. Simpson was terribly frightened, 
and hearing of my success with the whisky and in order to ward 
off what he termed " that terrible disease," took to stimulants, 
but his frail body could not stand the shock of disease, and he 
later passed over to the other shore. He was an active, worthy 
man, and the old stone warehouse where he did business still 
stands as a tribute of respect to departed early pioneerism. 


Among those who came to St. Paul In 1843, '^^'^s the sub- 
ject of this sketch, who was born in Massachusetts in 1794, and 
who, soon after arriving here, formed a co-partnership with 
Henry Jackson. The first deed on record in this county was 
from Jackson to Hartshorn, for ^1,000 for three acres, lying on 
the Mississippi river, known as the " St. Paul Landing," now 
worth probably $300,000. At the expiration of two years 
Hartshorn withdrew from the firm and ran a fur store in this 
city as well as several other fur stores outside. He finally sold 
out to Randall, Freeman & Larpenteur, and remov^ed to Still- 
water; tired of that he came back to St. Paul and entered 
business again, and died, January, 1865, aged seventy-one years. 
A writer for the newspapers of that day speaks of him as fol- 
lows . " He v/as an honest and pure-minded man, with a kind- 
ness of heart and absence of guile that made him beloved by all. 
Though at times well off, he was over-reached to an extent that 
kept him in reduced circumstances all of his life." I cheerfully 
add, that it gives me pleasure to record these kind words of one 
whose memory should always li\'e ; not for any great act achieved 
by him, or for his money, but because of his intrinsic merits as a 


man. The world is full of animated, pushing, struggling beings, 
but very few men, and when I find one, like Jack Bunsby in the 
play, I propose " to make a note of it." 


Mr. L. was born at Baltimore, Md., in the year 1823. He 
came to St. Paul in the year 1843, or forty-two years ago, and 
when he appeared on the levee with a stock of groceries for Mr. 
Hartshorn, for whom he subsequently clerked, three hundred 
Indians greeted him (or rather the provisions,) with cheers. 
About twelve white people with a number of savages, then com- 
posed the population of St. Paul. Mr. Larpenteur continued 
with his old employer until Hartshorn sold to Freeman, 
Larpenteur & Co., and soon after he entered into business for 
himself, on the corner of Third and Jackson streets, opposite the 
Merchants hotel, now occupied by the Hale block. He was at 
one time one of the original proprietors of the town site of St. 
Paul, and was one of the commissioners who entered the land 
upon which the city is now built. In 1850 he was alderman of 
the City Council and Treasurer of Ramsey county. He speaks 
English, French and Indian well, and at one time was an Indian 
interpreter. Mr. Larpenteur is now doing a large business on 
Jackson street, and is the father of ten children, and his oldest 
daughter Rosa was the first white female child born in St. Paul 
in 1847. 


Mr. Larpenteur is of French descent and consequently is all 
life and animation. He has a nervous, sanguine temperament ; 
possesses a black, piercing eye , is of medium size ; always 
pleasant, very quick ; talks quickly, acts quickly, figures quickly. 
Judging from what he now is, one would think he must have 
been '' chain lightning " when young. He is a man of unbounded 
industry, has unerringly maintained his love for trade, and is 
never more in his element than when down deep in business. 
Nobody is more devoted to his family than he, and at his 
" Anchorage," surrounded with the comforts of a pleasant home 
just outside of the city limits, he enjoys in his leisure moments 
all the pleasures this life can give. Of twenty comparatively 


young men who started out with him in Hfe, he is the only one 
left — all are dead. He is among the very oldest of the old set- 
tlers of this city, indeed is the oldest living in 1885, and although 
rising sixty years, and a little lame, he is as brisk and as cheery 
and as animated as a man of forty. I wish him many more years 
of an honored life. 

Mr. L. married Miss Mary J. Presley, sister of the late Bart- 
lett Presley, and she is yet a vigorous and pleasant lady, having 
seen a great deal of pioneer life and a great many changes, and 
still is lovely in her disposition and very greatly esteemed by all 
who know her. 


Scott Campbell had a mixture of Indian and Scotch blood 
in his veins and married a half-breed woman. He added to this 
an appetite for drink, and although he was an interpreter at Fort 
Snelling for twenty-five years, and was employed by Steele, Kitt- 
son and others, still he never was rich, and died in 1850, aged 
sixty years. He came to St. Paul in 1843, and his log house 
stood on Third street, just above Zimmerman's gallery, and his 
claim embraced the land from Wabasha street to St. Peter, run- 
ning back two blocks. His wife is reported to have been a good 
woman, but his sons grew up indifferently, probably the reflex of 
the father's character. Two were hung ; one died in an insane 
asylum. Joseph Campbell is a worthy man, and probably all the 
sons would have been better if they had been surrounded with 
different circumstances and brought up under different influences, 
for ** as the twig is bent the tree 's incHned." Early examples, 
early association, early education, early training, have much to 
do in moulding the character of the young, and if the Campbell 
boys had been differently situated they might have adorned soci- 
ety as good, moral citizens. Scott Campbell was a man of some 
ability and with all his faults is pleasantly remembered by those 
who knew him. 


At the time I record the events of 1843, St. Paul had but 
three or four log houses, with a population not to exceed twelve 
white people, and was a mixture of forest, hills, running brooks. 


ravines, bog mires, lakes, whisky, mosquitoes, snakes and Indi- 
ans. One could scarcely find his way from the Merchants hotel 
to Wabasha street, so thick were the underbrush and trees, and 
no travel could go much beyond Fourth street in consequence of 
the swampy condition of the land. A fine waterfall was visible 
just where the Capitol now stands, and the water from this beau- 
tiful cascade made its way to a lake on Eighth street, near the 
corner of Robert, in which were fish, and then sought the river 
down a ravine where the building of the First National Bank now 
stands. It was in fact only a small trading post, and those who 
came here then had no more idea of a city than they had of 
crawling to heaven on a sunbeam ! But few are left of the early 
settlers of 1843. The young man of twenty-five years ago, with 
black hair, bright eyes, unmeasured energy, is an old man now, 
Avith gray hair, dreamy eyes and tired footsteps. He feels the 
burden of his years and plods along while newer and younger 
elements jostle him to the end of the road and to the little bridge 
over which he soon must pass to that better land. 


Among other old settlers who came to St. Paul in 1843, was 
Alexander H. McLeod, son of a Scotch Canadian. He was a 
man of great physical power, and it is related of him that he 
killed his antagonist in a quarrel by a blow from his fist. He 
has the honor of being the original builder of the old Central 
house; that is, he built a square log cabin on the site where it 
used to stand, just back of Mannheimer's block, on Bench street, 
and from time to time additions were added to it until it became 
quite a respectable hotel, and in the years 1 849-50-51 was used 
for the Territorial Legislature. At an early day he was employed 
by the American Fur Company; clerked for Frank Steele; be- 
came a soldier in the Union army, and died in 1864 aged forty- 
seven years. Previous to his death he made West St. Paul his 
home, where I believe his widow now resides. 


Then came along David Sloan, who married a sister of Hole- 
in-the-Day, the great Chippewa chief, and after trading and rov- 
ing around among the natives of the forest for a number of years, 


he died near Crow Wing. Joseph Desmarais was an interpreter 
and guide, and on settling in St. Paul purchased a piece of prop- 
erty near the corner of Third and Jackson streets, probably that 
which is now known as the Prince block, for the munificent sum 
of $50, and then went among the Indians, with whom he has since 
made his home. Then Pepin, and Cloutier, and Gobin, and Lar- 
rivier, and Delonais, all Frenchmen, drifted into the little hamlet, 
from which has sprung the city of St. Paul. Larrivier owned 
the claim upon which the State Capitol now stands, but the poor 
fellow could not see far enough ahead to hold on to it, which, at 
present real estate retail prices, would have brought him about 
^500,000! But then, he is just as happy now, for 

** If ignorance is bliss, 
'Tis folly to be wise." 


"The Indians were very troublesome this year and perpetually 
drunk. One day Mrs. Mortimer, who was endeavoring to close 
out her stock of goods belonging to her late husband, was in her 
house when an Indian stalked in and seeing a camphor bottle 
standing on a shelf, took a deep swig, supposing it was whisky. 
As soon as he detected the nauseous taste, he gave a grunt of 
rage and seizing a measure, turned some vinegar into it from a 
barrel, supposing that also was whisky. He dashed down a heavy 
draught of it without stopping to taste it. Mrs. Mortimer saw 
the storm coming and fled for safety to Mr. Irvine's house, pur- 
sued a moment after by the infuriated Indian, with uplifted toma- 
hawk, but Irvine disarmed him and sent him off. The Indian 
had left the vinegar running, however, and the whole of it was 
gone when Mrs. Mortimer returned." — Williams. 

FIRST meat market. 

The first meat market was opened this year by a Frenchman 
named Gerou. 


Mr. FurncU was born in New Hampshire in 1817; came to 
St. Paul in 1 843 ; was engaged for several years as a teamster ; 
made the original claim of the old Larpenteur farm on the St. An- 
thony road, consisting of 160 acres ; broke and cultivated 10 acres ;. 


held it three years, when he sold it to Lot Moffett for $iOO ; worth 
now ;^ 1 2 5,000; purchased two acres on Seventh street, on part of 
which stands the residence of Robert Smith, Esq., for twenty 
dollars; worth now ^$50,000. Mr. Furnell is a tall, thin, emaci- 
ated man, with spectacles, and his health has been greatly im- 
paired by a nervous disease. He has seen a great deal of trou- 
ble but is an honest, upright, honorable man. 



First American Female Child horn in Minnesota — First Frame House — First Prot- 
estant Service — First Grist and Saw Mills, 


The first American female child born in the Territory of Min- 
nesota, was Miss Cleopatra Irvine, now the wife of Richard Gor- 
man, Esq., born in St. Paul in 1844. Mrs. Gorman is a splendid 
looking woman and as good as she looks — a fine type of a beau- 
tiful Minnesota lady. 


Capt. Robert was born in Missouri in 181 1 ; died in St. Paul 
in 1874, aged sixty-three years. He was a peculiar yet marked 
character, inheriting an iron constitution from Canadian parent- 
age, and in early life possessed an uncontrolable desire to travel, 
which he satisfied very thoroughly on the upper Missouri and 


also on the Mississippi, trafficking in furs and trading generally 
with the Indians. He came to St. Paul in 1844, and in 1847 
was one of the original proprietors of the town, purchasing part 
of the land of Ben Gervais for $300, including the land upon 
which the present high school building now stands ; commenced 
trading with the Indians ; took a prominent part in the Stillwater 
convention of 1848 for the organization of our Territory; urged 
the location of the Capitol at St. Paul ; was at one time a county 
commissioner ; also a building commissioner ; was very liberal, 
especially to the church ; gave real estate and money to this end; 
and the bells of both the French Catholic Church and the Cathe- 
dral, as they ring out their musical tones, tell of the generosity 
of Capt. Louis Robert. 


In the early days he noticed the great inconvenience caused 
by steamboats leaving some considerable time before the close 
of navigation in the fall, to engage in the southern trade, and re- 
turning to St. Paul again late in the spring, so to obviate this 
difficulty he repaired to St. Louis and bought a boat of his own 
called the Greek Slave, at a cost of ;^20,ooo. He became cap- 
tain and subsequently purchased other boats, one named after 
his beautiful daughter, Jennie, who subsequently married Uri 
Lamprey, Esq. At one time he was the owner of five steam- 


It is said of him that when he went before a magistrate to 
convey some lots to a purchaser, he was told that it was neces- 
sary to have them ** bounded " — that is, measured — when he 

broke out, " You tinks I be a d Jew ! My lots bonded ! — 

never ! Dey shall be free ! " At the first Fourth of July celebra- 
tion in 1849, in a grove of trees which stood in front of the pres- 
ent city hall. Judge Meeker, now dead, gave the oration, and W. 
D. Phillips read the Declaration of Independence. Capt. Robert 
listened very attentively to both productions, and at the conclu- 
sion pronounced Phillips' speech the better of the two, and in 
view of the fact that the captain's early education had been sadly 
neglected, this nice discrimination only showed the real merits 
of the man's mind. He was a great lover of liberty. 



Capt. Robert was not only a strong business man but a -man 
of great sagacity. During the Indian attack he was pursued by 
the savages, who were determined to take his Hfe, but the captain 
dodged his enemies, and finally crawling into a swamp, lay there 
for a considerable time with his whole body hid in the mire and 
his nose just above the water. The Indians were outwitted and 
Robert lived to see many of them hung and the balance driven 
from the State. 


Capt. Robert was a tall, muscular man, with strong features; 
decided convictions ; great energy ; excellent business qualities ; 
and was a born leader of men. He never followed ; he always 
led, and as captain of a steamboat he was in one of his best ele- 
ments. His face was massive, and there was a great tenacity of 
expression in his countenance, and yet he was kind, and liberal, 
and social, but never losing sight of the main chance — business ! 
Whatever he did, was done earnestly, vigorously, energetically. 
In politics he was a power. During the years 1853-4-5 and sub- 
sequently, he controlled the French vote, and then he had shrewd- 
ness enough to make an alliance with a man of those days who 
controlled the Irish vote, and between the two they always came 
out of the battle with a Democratic victory. Wm. P. Murray 
was Robert's lawyer and confidential adviser, and Robert was 
Murray's friend; so when their political victory had been gained 
they would sit down together and laugh heartily over the means 
which had been employed to accomplish their ends. Murray is 
at present city attorney, and has not yet quite forgotten the early 
lessons in politics taught him by Robert, and yet, if the truth were 
known, Murray was the teacher and Robert the pupil ! After 
lingering several months with an aggravated cancer, Capt. Louis 
Robert died May 10, 1874, very generally lamented, leaving be- 
hind him a property worth ^500,000, now valued up into the 


Another Canadian Frenchman by the name of Bazille, born 
in 181 2, came to St. Paul in 1844 and erected the first frame 


house on the corner of Jackson street and the levee, where the 
old passenger depot of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Rail- 
road Company used to stand. Bazille was a carpenter by trade 
and built other houses and also the first mill in this city. He 
also opened and ran a brickyard on the Como road. He pur- 
chased part of a claim now including the Capitol grounds and 
running back over Wabasha hill, at present worth $2,000,000 or 
;$3,ooo,ooo. He, jointly with Vetal Guerin, gave the block upon 
which the Capitol building now stands, to the United States, 
which subsequently became the property of the State. He really 
had so much land he did not know what to do with it, and plac- 
ing no value upon it, gave it away almost indiscriminately, so 
that in his declining years he was poor. He married a Miss 
Perry and was the brother-in-law of Vetal Guerin. 


Bazille erected the first grist and lumber mill in this city or 
State, on Phelan creek, but as the logs did not come down and as 
the wheat did not come up because it never had been sown, it 
proved a failure. The 160 acres on this creek then cost 3/0; 
sold in 1846, with improvements for $S;^S j ^vorth now about 
$ 1 ,000,000. William Dugas owned this mill, but he subsequently 
settled in Little Canada. 


Charles Bazille was French all over; an honest man. He 
was short in stature, quickly spoken, and full of kindness. He 
struggled through a long series of years, and died, I think, in 
1878, seven years ago, much respected by all who knew him. 


William Dugas, Francis McCoy and Joseph Hall came to 
the city in the year 1844, but as they did not make valuable 
claims and then lose them, (I refer to the two latter,) as all the 
other old settlers did, I do not deem them worthy of extended 
notices ; yet they were good men, carpenters by trade, and saved 
themselves a great deal of trouble by letting the land alone. 


Phelan took a claim in upper town, then in lov/er town, then 


at Phelan lake, then on Prospect hill, then the ground formerly 
owned by Edmund Rice, and then he skipped to California. He 
grabbed up some five claims before he left, or about 800 acres 
of land, and if he had only held on to all he grabbed what a 
genius he would have been ! How moneyed men would have 
taken off their hats and bowed to him, and invited him into their 
parlors, and sipped wine with him, and hob-nobbed over bank 
counters ! He was a good deal like the Irishman who let go his 
hold to spit on his hands — he lost all ! But history will do him 
credit ; he was not the murderer of Hays, (so said Thompson,) 
and he can point his long, bony, ghastly finger at his traducers 
and exclaim — " Thou canst not say / did it ! " and Do-wau, in 
spirit, will respond, Amen. 


Rev. Mr. Hurlbut, a Methodist missionary, held service at 
the house of Henry Jackson some time in the fall of 1844. 


Charles Reed, a young Canadian Englishman, wandered off 
in a snow storm and his body was found in a swamp near Lake 
Como. The discovery was made by a little girl who saw a dog 
gnawing a man's head, which proved to be that of Reed. 


This year Father Galtier was transferred to another field of 
labor, and Rev. Ravoux took his place. 


Peter Patwell was a burly Frenchman and was the first 
drayman in the city. At the time of the Indian fight near the 
Merchants hotel, he was standing upon his dray when he heard 
a shot, and the moment he saw the Indians and heard a second 
shot, he put the whip on to his horse and yelled worse than the 
savages themselves, and he and his team dashed along the street 
like a streak of lightning, the horse on a terrible gallop, Patwell 
yelling and applying the whip ! The Indians cried out — " Oonk- 
to-mee, a bad spirit ; or, the Devil on wheels," and as the 
Frenchman thought the Devil was after him, he yelled the 


louder and beat his horse the harder, until he found himself safe 
in a thick wood and underbrush near the corner of Third and 
Cedar streets, and here he had ample time to realize the fact that 
so far as the whites were concerned this was only — a scare ! Mr. 
Patwell was born in Canada in 1807 ; came to St. Paul in 1844, 
and carried on draying ; removed to Stillwater in 1 868. His son 
Peter, named after him, lived in Stillwater and dealt in cigars ; 
kept a restaurant, etc. He is a small man, quick in his move- 
ments and decided in his ways. During the Indian outbreak he 
was shot through the lungs and thus wounded walked a long 
way to St. Cloud. He has a brother now in this city. 



First School— First Hotel— First Odd Fellows Funeral— First Cooper. 


I find nothing of importance to record during the year 1845, 
except the opening of a day school temporarily by Miss Rum- 
sey, which was in a log house that stood near the upper levee, 
but it was continued only a short time as she married a Mr. 
Megee and the building was closed ; but this was no doubt the 
first school opened in the place. Possibly there might have been 
some twenty families in St. Paul at this time, not more than 


three or four of whom were white. There were some five or six 
traders, and steamboats came occasionally ; and although the 
houses were considerably scattered yet " it was a place not to be 
sneezed at." Of course most of the population were Canadian 
French, and these were intermarried with the native race, or 
Indians. An accession of this class of people (French) was 
made this year in the persons of Caviler, Francis Robert, (brother 
of Louis,) David Benoit, L. H. La Roche, F. Chenevert, and two 
Americans, Augustus and David Freeman. W. G. Carter, or as 
he was called, " Gib " Carter, lived on the Fort road and died 
there in 1852. He came from Virginia. 


La Roche purchased the real estate now covered by the 
Merchants hotel in the year 1844, for about ;^I50, and upon it 
erected a log tavern in 1845, which was then known as the " St. 
Paul House." This property was subsequently sold to S. P. 
Folsom, and then to J. W. Bass, and out of this small beginning 
has grown the present Merchants, once run by Col. Belote, then 
by Col. Shaw, and now by Col. Allen. " St. Paul House," in 
1845, value, house and land, at.;^25o; Merchants hotel, 1884, 
value, house, land and furniture, $500,000! ! 


These gentlemen were connected at one time with Hartshorn 
and also with Larpenteur. David B. died from over-exertion in 
attempting to overtake a runaway team which got loose from 
him on the Stillwater road, and was buried by the Odd Fellows, 
the first funeral of this character which occurred in Minnesota. 
The Freemans were good men, but like nearly all the settlers of 
that day they have long since gone to their final homes. 


Mr. Cavilier came to St. Paul in 1845 ; was a saddler by 
trade ; carried on the business in the city for some time, but 
finally went into the drug trade with Dr. Dewey ; was territorial 
librarian for several months, and shortly after took up his resi- 
dence at Pembina, where at last account he still resides. He was 
connected with the Methodist Mission at Red Rock, and was an 
earnest member. 


And thus by gradual steps I approach nearer to the city of 
to-day and to the greater city which is to be. 


Charles Rouleau and Joseph Monteur were Canadian French- 
men who came to St. Paul in 1845. Rouleau was the first cooper 
in the city. Monteur was the first blacksmith. 


Mr. Rouleau was born in Canada in 1807, and is conse- 
quently seventy-eight years old.' He came west in 1829, or fifty- 
six years ago, and was in the employ of the American Fur Com- 
pany for nine years, or three terms ; was mail carrier from Point 
Douglas to Taylor's Falls in 1844; lived at St. Croix and re- 
moved to St. Paul in 1845. His family consisted of fourteen 
children, eight of whom are still living. A carpenter by trade 
he was the first cooper in the city ; made casks for the govern- 
ment ; hewed the logs for the first hotel — " The St. Paul House," 
— later worked for the Lamb Brothers, but is now living upon the 
weight of his years. He also built the first ferry boat at Anoka 
and also the old ferry house at Fort Snelling ; made the first bar- 
rels in the State, and labored in the saw mill of John S. Prince. 
He now resides with a married daughter in an humble dwelling 
in the Sixth ward, or West St. Paul. 

PERSONAL mention. 

I visited Mr. Rouleau only a short time since. He is a 
bright, cheery old man, about medium height, clear eyes, thin 
face, yet sprightly and polite. He is pleasant in conversation and 
philosophical in his conclusions. Of course he has endured many 
hardships and has seen many changes. Last year he visited 
Montreal for the first time in fifty-four years, and in response to 
my question — " How many old friends did you meet there ? " he 
responded — '* Three ! all the rest are dead." While absent on 
his visit he met a sister 102 years old. She was blind, and deaf, 
and bent over, yet she could sing well, and did sing for him. 
"Oh, I don't want to live so long!" he said, with a sorrowful 
tone, " we be so much trouble." This aged sister has since died. 
One of his daughters, aged forty years, now the mother of a fam- 


ily, said she could scarcely realize that when a little girl she used 
to attend school in the log hut which then stood on Bench street, 
and yet such was the fact. Mr. Rouleau is a pleasant man and 
a good deal of a philosopher. Judging from what I saw of him 
he throws out rays of sunshine wherever he goes, and I trust he 
may live long to enjoy a more serene and genial old age. He 
died Oct. 5, 1885. 


This is a son of Mr. Rouleau of whom I have been writing. 
He was born in St. Paul in 1845, ^^ forty years ago, and was in 
the lumbering business from the age of eighteen years up to 
1 87 1, since which time he has been on the police force of the city 
of St. Paul, and ranks among the oldest members — No. 5. He 
is an excellent specimen of a well-preserved physical man ; large, 
well proportioned, with a fine, clear complexion, indicating so- 
briety, and is one of the best officers on the force. 


First Postoffice — First Postmaster — First Painter — First Artist— First River Boat, 



In 1 846 St. Paul was dignified into one of the " points " on 
the river, for the trade of the place had then become of sufficient 
importance to induce steamboats to land and discharge consider- 
able freight here. 


Henry Jackson, to whom I have repeatedly alluded, was an 

important man in the days in which he lived. He acted by 

general consent of the people as postmaster, and as has been 

hitherto described, all the letters in his possession were either 


thrown down on the counter or into a box, and each one picked 
out those that belonged to him. Finally, on the strength of a 
petition from the settlers, an office was established by the depart- 
ment at Washington, April 7, 1846, and Jackson received his 
commission as postmaster the same date. The first material 
postoffice as made by Jackson, consisted of a rough box with 
sixteen pigeon holes, and this original St. Paul Postoffice is now 
preserved among the relics of the State Historical Society. 
Nothing so clearly shows the growth of this city as the 
comparative merits of the postoffice of 1 846 and the postoffice 
building of 1885! The original one is worth about $2; the 
other cost the government over ;^50o,ooo ! But Jehu ! didn't 
Jackson feel big when he received that commission ! He was 
already landlord, merchant, saloon-keeper, justice of the peace, 
politician, etc., and now, when Uncle Sam put such a feather in 
his cap, he felt as though his cup of happiness was overflowing, 
although he had sense enough not to show his exuberant 
feeling. He was a popular man in his day and did much to 
advance the early growth of the city. 


This gentleman was born in Massachusetts in 1806; trans- 
acted business in New York for several years ; came to St. Paul 
in 1846, or thirty-nine years ago, and died in 1861, aged 55 
years. He succeeded Mr. Hartshorn in trade here, and having 
brought considerable money with him he invested largely in real 
estate, which is now very valuable, worth not less than ^5,000,- 
000. He was a public-spirited citizen, liberal, kind hearted, and 
had unbounded faith in the growth of St. Paul. 


No one person I remember more disti-nctly than the man 
whose name heads this article. He was a fine, gentlemanly^ 
courteous citizen, a hail fellow well met, genial and generous. 
At the time I first saw him, in 1853, he was the " biggest man in 
town." He had various vehicles and drivers, any number of 
horses, dealt largely in real estate, and his note was good almost 
anywhere for almost any amount. Some of the property he 
then owned in this city is now worth untold thousands, I might 


say millions. He builded well, he planned well. But " man 
proposes, God disposes;" and so, just in the midst of his pro- 
spective gains, the great crash of 1857 came, and his property, 
being mortgaged, w^ent down and he went with it. Mr. Randall 
was a man of fine business qualities, honest in purpose and 
manly in act. Were he alive to-day and the possessor of the 
real estate in this city which he once owned, he would be the 
richest man in St. Paul. Litigation followed his death, and two 
sons, who ought to be w^ell off, are paddling their own canoes 
and buffeting life's waves; and so goes the see-saw board of 
destiny — one is up while the other is down. Teeter-taunter ! 
teeter-taunter ! teeter-taunter ! 

In personal appearance Mr. Randall was of medium size, 
with a florid complexion, and always finely dressed. He invari- 
ably carried a gold-headed cane and his movements on the street 
were of an energetic character. He had a soft, pleasant voice, 
and winning ways, and was always polite. He was social among 
his friends, generous to their wants, and yet wide-awake for bus- 
iness. We might say, he was the advance courier of gentlemanly 
culture and true civilization. 


Occupying a pleasant niche upon the bluff and overlooking 
one of the finest scenes in the Sixth ward, or West St. Paul, is 
the rude log house of Thomas Odell, which was erected in 1850, 
or 35 years ago, and is therefore the oldest building in that sec- 
tion of the city. This was while the land on the West side of 
the river belonged to the Indians, and the store was used as a trad- 
ing post. Odell was born in New York ; was a soldier ; came 
to Fort Snelling in 1 841 ; mustered out in 1845 > removed to St. 
Paul in 1 846, and helped survey the town plat in 1 847. He died 
from the effects of a cancer only a few years ago. 

MRS. odell. 

The widow of the subject of my sketch still lives in the 
Sixth ward, having recently parted with the old homestead for 
a new one. She is a woman about fifty years of age, somewhat 
fleshy, her mother being a full-blooded Indian ; her father. Lieu- 
tenant Williams, formerly in the army. She has been married 


thirty-seven years and has Hved in West St. Paul thirty-four 
years. Her mother married John Thompson, the former slave, 
and both are now dead. 

" MARSH ON ! " 

What a trio! Thompson eighty-five years old, fifty-seven 
years in and about St. Paul; Mrs. Thompson seventy years old 
and seventy years a resident of this section of country; Mrs. 
Odell, her daughter, fifty years old and fifty years a resident. 
What changes have transpired in the lives of these three people ! 
One race — the Indians — has passed out entirely. Part of another 
race — the old settlers — has gone ! — while a new race, embodying 
pluck, and vim, and energy, and enterprise, and push, and dar- 
ing, and money, confront these antiquarians and confuse them 
with the introduction of modern ideas! The Indian who leads 
the advance on the war-path, says : ** Marsh-on ! " go-ahead 1 
Old Time says in English, " March-on ! " 


In the early career of St. Paul one of the most eventful 
days was the arrival of from 1 50 to 200 wooden carts, laden with 
furs from Pembina, 900 miles distant, and drawn by oxen har- 
nessed singly. There was no iron about these carts and they 
were always accompanied by half-breeds who were fantasticall}' 
dressed. The furs were exchanged for provisions and the old 
carts, having creaked into the city, creaked out again, and the 
good people waited patiently for another cavalcade to make its 
appearance. The old Red river house, where these prairie voy- 
ageurs- used to stop, stood on Governor Ramsey's farm, now 
Grand avenue, (upper part.) The event in modern days is the 
arrival of a circus, or more properly, the opening of the North- 
ern Pacific Railroad. In the past the cry was, — *' Wait for the 
Red river carts," or " until after the pa)'ment to the Indians." 
Now it is, — " Wait until the wheat is cut," and the further cry is, 
" Wait until the wheat is sold," and some of us, and most of us, 
having waited all these long years without reaHzing a fortune, or, 
having realized a fortune, lost it, are now waiting for the great 
Reaper — death ! and he is coming, surely coming, for he has no 
partiality for the human race and is no respecter of persons ! The 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. . 53 

thinned ranks of the old settlers show that he has been among 
them already, and we can hear him chuckle over the victory he 
has made as he rattles his scythe among the gray heads and fee- 
ble limbs and laughs as he sings : " I gather them in ! I gather 
them in ! " 

N. W. Kittson, Esq., seems to have been the originator of 
the Red river trade, and he was followed by Joe Rolette and 
his uncle of Pembina. 


From all I can learn James McClellan Boal was the first 
artist, who came to St. Paul in 1846. He was at onetime mem- 
ber of the Territorial Legislature, Adjutant General and member 
of the House of Representatives in 1852. He was a peculiar 
character, very generous, and his generosity led him to poverty. 
He died at Mendota in 1862. 


Louis Denoyer, H. D. White and J. D. Cruttenden were at 
one period residents of St. Paul, but they remained here only a 
short time. There is nothing notable in their histories, and 
nothing that would interest the general reader. 


Built the New England House in 1847 ^^ ground formerly 
occupied by the office of the Gas Company, on P^ast Third street, 
but was a resident of St. Paul in 1 846. He was one of the early 
Indian traders. John Banfill remained in the city only a short 
time and then removed to Manomin on the upper Mississippi, 
where he kept a hotel. The place was better known as " Rice 


About one mile from Bridge Square, on the West side of the 
river and overlooking the greater portion of our now busy city, 
is a story and a half house, the late residence of Henry Belland. 
Mr. Belland was born in Canada in the year 18 16, and was sixty- 
nine years old when he died; came to Minnesota in 1836, or 
forty-eight years ago ; lived in Pig's Eye in 1 840, on a claim he 
bought of Parrant; resided at Crow Wing one year, at Mendota 


four years and on the West Side for thirty-nine years, or since 
1846. Was married at Lac Qui Parle in 1839, (wife living;) was 
employed for a long time by the American Fur Company, and 
worked for Gen. Sibley sixteen years. He acted as a guide and 
interpreter for the government nearly a quarter of a century, and 
was with General Custer in his first campaign ; also with Gen- 
erals Pope and Terry, and for eleven years was employed at 
Fort Totten. He was also a trader for Major Forbes at Red 
Wood Falls, and was on his way to that point when the Indians 
made their outbreak, and in the fight killed his brother. He 
built a log house on the bluff on the West side of the river, on a 
claim which he made of 160 acres of land, thirty-nine years ago, 
and at that time he told me, looking towards St. Paul, everything 
was a forest, so dense that just in front of his house he could hear 
the cackle of his neighbor's chickens although he could not see 
his residence. The only houses visible from his dwelling was 
one on Robert street and another at the base of Dayton's bluff. 
Now we have a city of 1 20,000 people. 


He happened to be near Fort Ridgely at the time the 
Indians had surrounded that place, and to save his life he hid in 
the bushes close to where the Indians came and tied their ponies, 
and finally he and his companion, by the name of Le Clair, trav- 
eled four days, he not tasting a particle of food during that 
period. In his wanderings he came across a hut inhabited by 
white men, who had thus secreted themselves outside of civiliza- 
tion to avoid the draft. Notwithstanding he was on the best of 
terms with the Indians, yet had they met him they would have 
killed him, for when they have once declared war against the 
whites it is rare that a life is ever spared ; and this fact so well 
known by those who understand Indian character, only make 
the noble acts of Chaska shine out in resplendent colors over 
the dusky forms of the Indian race. 


Mr. Belland had sharp, heavy features, showing him to have 
been a man of great endurance, exceedingly cautious and very 
trustworthy. He was a little above five feet high, somewhat 


'broad across the shoulders, and possessed well developed 
muscles. His hair was gray, and he was tremulous and deaf, 
and unable to perform any work, the result of an attack of a 
paralytic stroke, which had confined him to his house since 
1878. He was a venerable man, and delighted to relate his 
• experience in the great Northwest during a period of near half a 
century. He died January ii, 1885, aged 69 years. 


His little, unpretentious house now stands upon five lots, all 
that is left of a claim of 160 acres, which, if he had retained 
them, would have brought him to-day ^100,000! But then he 
is no bigger fool than many others ; indeed, we are all fools so 
far as even comprehending the shadow of what is to be; if we 
were not fools in this respect we would all be millionaires, and 
that would make us all lunatics, so in the end perhaps it is just 
as well to be fools! Vanderbilt and Gould can't take their 
untold millions with them, and they toil like galley slaves to 
retain what they have, so that he who enjoys life serenely, walks 
uprightly, fears nobody, culls from nature sparkling enjoyment, 
is kind, generous and honest, although in moderate circum- 
stances, really occupies a higher place upon the throne of 
contentment than the millions delving in the hot cauldron of 
business, all eager to grasp the golden bubbles that float away 
■ on the incoming of — Death ! 


In the year 1839 came along the steamer Glaucus with 
whisky for McDonald, and then, later, in 1846, steamboats from 
Galena with flour, potatoes, etc., for the new settlers, as Minne- 
sota, in the estimation of Eastern men, was deemed too far north 
and too cold to raise either corn or wheat. Just think of this, 
oh ye bonanza farmers! "Minnesota too far north to raise 
either corn or wheat," and this was the honest belief of thousands 
of men less than forty-five years ago. Just think of the wheat 
product of Minnesota for the year 1883 — 35,000,000 bushels. 
Of the corn crop, from 15,000,000 to 20,000,000; of potatoes 
from 12,000,000 to 15,000,000 bushels, and yet in 1843 steam- 


boats from Galena brought flour, corn, potatoes, eggs, butter, 
etc., to feed the then struggHng population. " Why," said a good 
Christian Methodist friend of mine, whom I met after my return 
from St. Paul in 1853, *' you can't raise corn there, or wheat, or 
potatoes ; they won't grow ; they can't grow. You can't live 
there with the thermometer forty degrees below zero, unless you 
burrow in snow huts as the Esquimaux do ; you are simply crazy 
of thinking of going to St. Paul to make it your future home." 
But I came ; I stayed ; '* I still live," and hope to live long 
enough to see St. Paul with a population of 500,000 inhabitants. 
I have seen it grow from 800 to 120,000 people, and can see no 
reason why in ten years it should not reach 300,000, possibly 
500,000, and this can be easily attained by the union of the two 
cities, which will be the ultimate result of all this struggle on the 
part of each to surpass the other in the race for supremacy. 


Mr. Pomeroy was born in New York in 1821 ; attended a 
common school and taught school for a short time, when he 
learned the carpenter trade and worked at it for a brief period in 
Ohio. He came to Stillwater in 1845 ^^^ removed to St. Paul 
in 1846, where he carried on his business, and built not only the 
first house, but the first ten or twelve houses in the place. Thirty- 
nine years ago he little thought St. Paul would be the city it now 
is, with a population of 120,000, as then the country was very 
broken and some parts of the place very swampy. He thought 
possibly it might be a " right smart village," but no city. 


Mr. Pomeroy formed a partnership with a Mr. Foster and 
the firm built the first frame building in the city for Louis Robert, 
which stood on Bench street near the corner of Robert. This 
was burned down, but it was rebuilt by the firm in 1847 and later 
was removed to Sixth street, back of the new Chamber of Com- 
merce building. Mr. Pomeroy unhesitatingly pronounces this 
the oldest frame dwelling house in the city, and as he and his 
partner built it, he claims to kno^v all about it, and he certainly 
ought to. 



He says that the building on Fourth street, which has the 
card on it of the Ramsey County Association designating it as 
the oldest house in the city, was a part of Louis Robert's trading 
post, built of logs, and was removed to its present location some- 
time after Robert's house had been erected. So this settles the 
question by a living witness and by the mechanic who con- 
structed the building, as to which was the oldest house in St. 
Paul in the year 1885, and where located. It has cost some 
labor to dig out this bit of history from the past, but I am proud 
in the consciousness of the fact that it is true. 


The oldest building standing upon the ground upon which 
it was originally erected, is that on the corner of Jackson and 
Bench streets, (or rather where Bench street terminates,) and 
which is a part of the stone warehouse of Wm. Constans. It is 
an old store and has on it in almost undistinguishable letters — 
** Storage, forwarding and commission." Mr. Pomeroy says this 
is the oldest store building in the city not removed from its orig- 
inal position, while that on Sixth street is the oldest wooden 
house or residence erected in the city, and thus this vexed 
question seems to be settled. 


At a meeting of the Old Settlers' Association, Incorporated 
in 1849, held in St. Paul June, 1885, a committee made the fol- 
lowing report : 

Whereas, the Ramsey County Pioneer Association has fixed 
a sign on a frame building at No. 98 East Fourth street, near 
Cedar, giving it the honor of being the oldest house in the city, 
this committee report that this claim is unfounded — that the old- 
est building is the stone structure at the foot of Jackson street 
on the west side. It was built in 1847, ^^^ was used as a com- 
mission and storage warehouse by Freeman, Larpenteur & Co. 
In composition to the claim that the Fourth street house was built 
in 1844, the committee cited the fact that there were no saw mills 
here chen to manufacture the lumber of which it is composed. 


It has also been said that the Fourth street structure was moved 
to its present location from the foot of Jackson street. In oppo- 
sition to this the committee showed the impossibility of moving 
the building from there to its present site in those early days. 
The report provoked considerable discussion, but was adopted. 


In 1849 and in 1851 Mr. Pomeroy built Fort Ripley and 
Fort Ridgely, and of course they are well-built posts, as the writer 
was stationed at both of these places during the war, and he 
knows this from personal observation. They were erected under 
the immediate control of the war department superintended by 
an officer, but a man must have been a pretty good mechanic in 
those days to have secured the job. 


Mr. Pomeroy at one time owned a lot fifty feet front on 
Third street, between Jackson and Robert, for which he paid 
^200; worth now ^50,000; one on Fifth street 141 feet front, 
known as Baptist Hill, for which he paid $700 ; worth now 
;^70,000 ; that on the corner of Fourth and Jackson streets, (the 
Davidson property,) 60 feet on Fourth and 150 on Jackson, for 
which he paid $200, worth now over ;^ 100,000. On his return 
from Fort Ridgely he went into the grocery business on this 
corner, in which he continued about one year, when he returned 
to his trade as a carpenter for a few years, and then entered the 
furniture business, in which he remained ten years. From this 
he drifted into buying and selling hard wood, in which he is now 


Mr. Pomeroy erected the first school house, which stood on 
Third street, above Saint Peter, and also the first printing office 
in which the first paper appeared. He brought the first lumber 
to St. Paul to sell, and in the early history of the city erected 
not less than thirty houses. He built the first boat in the North- 
west, in 1847 or 1848, which was used to take a panoramic view 
of the Upper Mississippi, and was considered a first-class vessel 
of its kind. 



He purchased three lots on the corner of Jackson street and 
University avenue, for which he paid $600 ; now worth ^^ 12,000. 
On these lots he erected a fine residence, and is in a good condi- 
tion to enjoy a serene and a pleasant old age. 


Mr. Pomeroy is a rugged son of toil, weather-beaten and 
iron-bound from the effects of frontier life. He looks like a 
swarthy scion of Vulcan, cast in the mould of human endur- 
ance, and is as calm and unmoved as the granite hills of New 
Hampshire. He is very undemonstrative and has no tact for 
conversation, and yet he is like a celebrated race horse, when once 
on the road he feels the inspiration of the past and gets over the 
ground in good style. Nobody can drive him. Nobody can 
scare him. In early days his sister cried out to him in the mid- 
dle of the night : ** Jesse ! the Indians are coming ! " 

** W-e-1-1 ! 1-e-t t-h-e-m c-o-m-e ! " he replied, and turned 
over in bed and went on with his sleeping. And this shows the 
character of the man ; cool, brave, honest, quiet, industrious, 
muscular, unpretending, he can whip any braggart that may 
have the courage to attack him, yet he is a kind, pleasant, amia- 
ble gentleman and a good citizen. 


When the Indian war broke out in Florida, Col. BanfiU 
resided in New Orleans, and on hearing of Dade's massacre he 
volunteered and took an active part in the campaign. He 
removed to Prairie du Chien in 1840, and came to St. Paul in 
1846. He resided in this city for some time, and then moved to 
Manomin. He helped build the steamer H. M. Rice, which ran 
above the Falls, also a mill located at Manomin. In 1857 ^^ "^^'^^ 
elected State Senator, and in 1 866 removed to Bayfield, where he 
has remained ever since. He is a man of sterling worth and 
greatly respected by all who know him, now about sixty years 
of age. 




First Election — First Survey of Town Site — First Schools — First Physician- 
First Tailor — First Hotel — First Drug Store — First Steamboat 
Line, and Other Events in this Year. 


In 1847, thirty-eight years ago, the ground known as Min- 
nesota was embraced within the Territory of Wisconsin, so that 
when in 1848 Wisconsin was admitted as a State, the young 
settlement of Minnesota was left without a government. Steps 
were immediately taken, however, to effect a Territorial organi- 
zation, and at a convention held in Stillwater a memorial was 
passed asking Congress to grant a Territorial existence with the 
present beautiful name, Minnesota, (meaning in Indian, " sky 
tinted or slightly turbid,") and this petition was granted with an 
agreement on the part of those composing the convention, that 
** St. Paul should be the Capital, Stillwater should have the 
prison, and St. Anthony, (then there was no Minneapolis,) the 
University," which agreement was faithfully adhered to. 

H. L. Douseman, of Prairie du Chien, now dead, suggested 
the name of Minnesota. At this time St. Paul could boast of 
five stores, about twenty families and thirty-six children, com- 
posed of English, French, Swiss, Sioux, Chippewa and African 
descent, making in all not more than fifty inhabitants, while the 
entire white population in the Territory could not have been at 


this time more than 300. Her commercial element consisted of 
a'light traffic in furs, a little lumbering business, and other minor 
» branches of trade, but the place began to be known and immi- 
gration began to set in. 


Just as I get a little ahead in my history some of the real 
old settlers away back in 1845-6-7, pop up before me and remind 
me of the fact that I had almost forgotten them. Now here 
comes a sort of rollicking fellow, not tall, nor very short, and 
not very large, yet a genial, social man, and he slaps me on the 
back, and on turning around I find him to be 


who was born in Canada in 181 5 ; was once a partner with Mr. 
Kittson ; was engaged in the Indian trade for a number of years ; 
was a member of the Legislature four years ; presiding officer 
one year ; postmaster of St. Paul ; auditor of Ramsey County ; 
entered the army in 1862 as Commissary; was breveted Major 
and mustered out in 1 866 ; subsequently appointed Indian agent ; 
came to Fort Snelling in 1837, or forty-eight years ago, and in 
1847 became a resident of St. Paul, where he continued to reside 
twenty-eight years, or up to the time of his death. 


Major Forbes was an excellent, good man. I knew him 
well ; he was in the army with me ; I was the last person he 
spoke with when he left St. Paul never to return alive. He was 
ambitious, yet he performed his duties nobly and well. As an 
evidence of this fact he left the army poorer than when he 
entered it, and carried to the credit of the government a hand- 
some sum which he had saved. He was impulsive, kind-hearted, 
generous, social, and has left behind him a character unsullied 
and a name untarnished. He admired everything that was 
manly and denounced everything that was mean. But he is 
gone ; his family is scattered and the old homestead that for- 
merly stood on the corner of Fifth and Robert streets, has been 
removed to give place to a ^1,000,000 hotel — and so goes the 
world ; each succeeding wave washes out the footprints on the 


sands of life made by those who have gone before, and we pause 
in silence at places once made dear by their presence, and wait 
— but they come not. All is still. 


Mr. Bass came to St. Paul in 1847, ^^ which time it is 
alleged his wife was about sixteen years old. He kept store for 
a time, and then purchased the interest of Simeon P. Folsom, 
who ran the first tavern in the city, which was built of tamarac 
poles and which formerly stood on the corner of Third and Jack- 
son streets, where now stands the Merchants hotel. 

Mr. Bass was born in Vermont in 1815 ; lived for some time 
in Wisconsin, at Prairie du Chien, and then moved to McGregor, 
Iowa ; married a Miss Brunson, daughter of Rev. Alfred Brun- 
son ; kept hotel in this city ; was postmaster in 1 849 ; ran a 
commission house on the levee and finally, in consequence of ill 
health, retired from business. He accumulated a good deal of 
real estate during his residence here, but in 1857 and later, he 
suffered from its great depreciation, but it rose again, and he is 
now well off He is a short, rather thick-set man, with a pleasant 
address ; quite social in his nature, and for years past has lived 
a somewhat retired life. He opened a large farm on the line of 
the old Sioux City Railroad, but I think has given it up. He is 
seventy years old, and yet is a fine, hale, genial gentleman, with 
enough of life's comforts to make him happy. Mrs. Bass is one 
of the oldest resident ladies in the city. She is an elegant look- 
ing woman, and when young was beautiful, as indeed with her 
gray hair and clear complexion she is now. 

C. p. v. LULL a character. 

All the old settlers know Lull ; he was and is to-day a 
character peculiar to himself He was at one time Sheriff of 
Ramsey County and had considerable to do in hanging the Indian 
Yu-ha-za on St. Anthony hill, which was the first execution in 
the Territory. He was always a moving spirit among his fellow- 
men, and is now. He came to St. Paul in 1847, ^^^ is a man 
about fifty-five years of age. He is like a polar bear, always on 
the go, always moving. A man of ordinary size, full of activity, 
running over with hilarity, a hard worker. Lull has seen many of 


the shadows and but Httle of the sunshine of existence. His 
peculiar temperament has driven him rough-shod over the crag- 
ged hills of hfe, and yet with all his idiosyncrasies he is a pleasant 
man and a genial fellow. He was born in New York and still 
lives, and is still actively at work knocking off the rough corners 
of life. 


History concedes that the first Mission Sunday School 
taught in this city was by Miss Harriet E. Bishop, who also 
taught for a year a day school, and who is really entitled to be 
considered the first permanent school teacher, as she really was. 
This was in the year 1847, ^^ thirty-eight years ago. 


But a short time since, in 1884, I stood over the coffin of 
one of the early pioneers of this city, and read in lines unmis- 
takably traced upon the pale, dead face — 


Hers had been a busy life. Leaving home and friends in 
Vermont, she sought the distant shores of Minnesota and came 
to St. Paul in 1 847, or thirty-eight years ago, to do what she 
thought was her Master's bidding, and during all these long 
years she never halted, never tired, never stopped, until sickness 
placed her upon a bed of rest and death closed the scene forever. 
Miss Bishop was thoroughly impressed with the belief that she 
had a work to do — a destiny that must be filled, and acting upon 
this impression she came among the early settlers of this city, 
educated the young, taught religion, and aided in every way she 
could to elevate the scale of morality. Whatever else may be 
said of her, she was sincere and earnest. She taught, she wrote, 
she worked — all for the cause of God. She was ambitious ; she 
sought fame, and hence she wrote several works — some poetry, 
and a history of the Sioux outbreak. These works were not 
marked by any particularly brilliant characteristics, but they read 
well and showed a vast amount of labor and research, which give 
the reader a faint conception of the ever busy pen and busier 
brain of the dead authoress. She was angular, positive, deter- 
mined — such a woman as is necessary for frontier life. She 


knew no policy. She attacked evils upon their merits ; never 
conciliated or compromised ; hence she often antagonized some 
of her best friends working with her in the same good cause. 
Tired and weary with her struggle she sought peace in the mar- 
riage tie. It came, but oh ! how bitter ! And then she drifted 
back again into single life, and toiled on in what she deemed her 
duty, until the final change came and she passed over the river 
at the age of 66 years. 

Miss Bishop, once Mrs. McConkey, was a woman of comely 
appearance; tall, with a good figure; a bright, expressive face; 
earnest and decided in manners, and quick in speech. She had 
an air of active business about her, and seemed always in a 
hurry. Until within a few years she wore curls, and looked 
much younger than she really was, but back of all her energy 
and activity and her desire to fill up the measure of her useful- 
ness, there was a sad, broken heart, which at last gave way, and 
she now rests in peace. Old settlers remember her kindly, and 
future historians will give her a pleasant niche among the golden 
days of the past. 


A. L. Larpenteur, Esq., bought of David Faribault in the 
year 1846, or thirty-nine years ago, seventy feet of land on Jack- 
son street running to Fourth, now the property of Henry Hale, 
Esq., and paid for it the sum of $62.50. Its present value is 
considerably over ;$ 1 00,000. He was offered another seventy 
feet adjoining for $4$, but Larpenteur was too shrewd a man 
to load himself down with real estate at such ruinous high 
prices, and so declined the offer. In 1847 ^^^ concluded to build 
on this lot, so timber was procured at $10 per thousand, and 
carpenters were set to work, and in due course of time what 
was once known as the Wild Hunter's hotel, sprang into being 
as a first-class city residence, costing the owner ;$900. It was 
erected on the corner of Third and Jackson streets, where the 
ticket office now is, but in 1 865 was moved to its former location 
on Jackson street. Mr. Larpenteur lived here eight years, and 
in this house five of his children were born, and here he passed 
some of the plcasantest hours of his life. The hotel of the Wild 
Hunter was kept for many years by a Mr. Mueller, who died in 


I 866. It was a peculiar building, made so mostly by the addi- 
tions which were added to it, and while it stood the blasts of 
thirty-seven winters, like a good many other old settlers who 
have gone before, it passed out of existence forever in 1885, to 
make way for an imposing block of brick stores which now 
usurp its place. 


Mr. Brunson is a son of Rev. A. Brunson, of Prairie du 
Chien, and is a brother of Mrs. J. W. Bass, of this city. He was 
born in Detroit in 1823. I first hear of Mr. Brunson as in the 
milling business in Wisconsin, when, in May, 1847, ^"^^ removed 
to St. Paul, where he has resided thirty-eight years, or near a half 
a century. He is a lawyer and a very competent surveyor and 
engineer. He assisted in surveying the town plat of St. Paul, 
and having secured property east of Trout Brook, laid it out into 
:an addition. The original cost of the land to him was compar- 
atively little, but the property is now worth many hundred 
thousand dollars. In 1861 Mr. Brunson entered the Union 
army, Company K, Eighth Regiment, and served three years. 
He is and has been a great Odd Fellow and Mason, and has 
probably seen as many ups and downs as any man in the State. 
He has been a justice of the peace, a member of the Territorial 
Legislature for two terms, general manager in the postofifice, and 
is now connected with the government of the Union Depot. 

as I SEE HIM. 

Mr. Brunson is a quiet, unobtrusive man, with decided opin- 
ions of his own and quite independent in character. He never 
says — " that's so," but he speaks what he believes is a fact, and 
others echo — ** that's so." He is not a large man ; moves and 
talks in a moderate manner, and thinks a good deal more than 
he talks. He and his son are both energetic business men and 
have the confidence of not only their associates, but of the public 
at large. Perhaps if Mr. Brunson had had more policy and less 
manhood, he would, in the common parlance of the world, have 
been more successful financially, and perhaps he wouldn't ! A 
great deal of life is governed by luck, and many times the most 
ignorant and the meanest get the most money. Mr. Brunson is 

sixty-two years old, but is bright, cheerful and active. 



Dr. Dewey arrived at St. Paul in July, 1847, ^^^ '^^ i84<S^ 
established the first drug store not only in this city but in the 
State. At one time he built up quite a practice, but of late years 
has lived a somewhat retired life. He is a man above sixty 
years, with a long, flowing beard ; very reticent ; moves over the 
sidewalk with measured tread and has the appearance of a per- 
son who is disappointed with the world, and yet it may be only 
the peculiarity of the man. He is a quiet, undemonstrative 
gentleman, and generally walks with his hands behind him. 
One looking at him would scarcely believe that he was the oldest 
physician in St. Paul, who had resided here thirty-eight years. 
He has seen many changes and has followed many an old settler 
to the grave, but he is a well-preserved man, and bids fair to live 
many years longer. 


Mr. Johnson is an old-timer and still lives at Mankato. He 
was born in Vermont in the birthplace of Stephen A. Douglas, in 
1 816; attended one term of school with young Douglas, but says 
that did not add anything to his own intellectual growth ; be- 
came an apprentice to the tailoring business in 1832; served 
three years ; carried on business two years, and in 1837, oi' forty- 
eight years ago, emigrated to Wisconsin, and after visiting small 
places like Chicago, Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee (and they 
were small in those days,) he finally located at Rockford, Illinois. 
Here he formed a partnership in the tailoring business with Wil- 
liam Tinker of this city, which continued until 1841. They then 
removed to Prairie du Chien and remained there as partners up 
to 1846, when, in 1847, he came to St. Paul to hunt and fish and 
to look up his land, as he was one of the heirs to the Carver 
estate, embracing Stillwater, St. Anthony, St. Paul and so forth. 
He says that at this time he could have had a lot on Third street 
for making out a cjuit-claim deed, but wliat was tlie use when the 
Car\er heirs owned the whole city? Finalh- he consented to 
take a lot as a gift from H. M. Rice on upper fhird street, and 
there, in a small building, he commenced tailoring, but he did not 
make up his mind to remain in the city until 1849. He was a 
member of the Legislature in 1849 ^ilong with Henry Jackson 


and other '49ers, and aided in locating the Capital, at St. Paul. 
He married Miss Bivins in 1851, and soon after settled near the 
mouth of the Blue Earth river — now Mankato — built the first 
house there, laid off the town, was postmaster, Register of Deeds, 
deputy Clerk of the Court, justice of the peace, etc., etc., and in 
1855-6 was a member of the Legislature. 


In a note to the writer Mr. Johnson says : " In your political 
tirade against Rice in this place, now some thirty odd years ago, 
it was I instead of Jackson who complimented you for telling 
more political lies (artistically,) in a given time than any man I 
ever listened to." I am glad to have found the right man at last 
who accused me of lying in my speech at Mankato, for poor 
Jackson will now be able to sleep more quietly in his grave since 
Johnson comes to the front and confesses liis crime of interrupt- 
ing the writer when he was trying to save his country by abusing 
Rice. Johnson's and Newson's fame will now go down to history 


Mr. Johnson is a man of a good deal of ability, and had he 
struck a different wave he would have occupied an entirely dif- 
ferent position in society, though his life has not been without 
its influence and its good. He has lived to see many queer 
things, and towns and cities have grown up where only a quarter 
of a century ago there were woods and Indians. He still lives 
at Mankato at a good old age. 


On the 25th of July, 1847, thirty-eight years ago, Miss 
Harriet E. Bishop opened a mission Sunday school in a log house, 
corner of Third and St. Peter streets, with seven scholars. They 
were from parents of all nationalities and from all denomina- 
tions, and great skill was required by the then young and in- 
experienced but persevering teacher to make them comprehend 
her meaning ; but she succeeded admirably, and finally had 
twenty-five children about her. The school was continued sev- 
eral years and increased in numbers, and at last became con- 


nected with the First Baptist Church of this city. Miss Bishop 
died in 1883, and a biographical sketch of her hfe appears in the 
proper place. 


Mr. Folsom was born in Lower Canada in 18 19, and is con- 
sequently 66 years old, which will greatly surprise most of his 
intimate friends, who presumed him to be a man of not much 
more than 50 years. He studied and practiced law, and then took 
up the profession of civil engineering. He left his home in 1839 
and came to St. Paul in 1847, or thirty-eight years ago. He 
early enlisted in the Mexican war, as did Edmund Rice and 
M. N. Kellogg, and also served in the Union army for a term of 
three years during the war of the rebellion. He was also on 
the staff of Major-General Bodfish, in 1839, ranking as major, 
and in 1852-3 was clerk in the Legislature. He was also the first 
city surveyor of St. Paul in 1854, and has been a continuous 
resident of St. Paul, or near to it, and identified with her 
interests, for thirty- eight years. 

A canoe ride of 300 MILES. 

In 1842 Mr. Folsom, having been appointed by the United 
States government to take the census in this then almost un- 
known region, and having performed his duties, purchased a 
birch-bark canoe of the Indians, and alone started on a voyage 
from Menominee, Wisconsin, down the Chippewa river to the 
Mississippi, and from thence to Prairie du Chien, a distance of 
300 miles. He made a sail out of one of his under-garments, 
and thus floated on the broad bosom of the great river, some- 
times stopping with fur traders, sometimes with Indians, and 
sometimes alone. Then there were no farms, no villages, no 
towns, no cities, and very few whites. He came west when nine- 
teen years old, and has lived to see wonderful changes. He 
speaks of visiting the old government mill near where Minneapo- 
lis now stands, and between the mill and Fort Snelling on a wide 
stretch of prairie land, stood a lone tree, and beneath this lone 
tree the sentinel soldier would sit at noonday to shield himself 
from the hot rays of the sun. Where that lone tree then stood 
is now a bustling city. 



Mr. Folsom is a man of a great deal of intelligence and has 
led an active, busy life. I remember him in the palmy days of 
real estate when he dealt in broad acres and drove about the city 
as a nabob ; then I remember him not so rich ; in poor health, 
ready and expecting to die any minute, and yet he has outlived 
a large number of his old friends, and is as active as a kitten. 
Very few men know more about real estate in and about St. 
Paul, than Folsom. He has surveyed it ; he has owned it ; he 
has sold it ; he has been on the topmost round of the ladder, 
and at the bottom, and just now he is in the middle of the ladder 
of life, and is as tenacious as an old hickory tree. He is social, 
kind-hearted, generous ; has an excellent memory, and delights 
to revel in the incidents of the past. Withal, he has a vein of 
humor in his composition which makes him popular as a com- 
panion and liked as a man. Mr. Folsom is in the best of health, 
and looks younger than he did twenty years ago. 


Frederick Oliva was born at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, in 
1816; came to St. Paul temporarily in 1843, and then to reside 
permanently in 1847. ^^ clerked for Henry Jackson, then for 
Louis Robert, and in 1836 for Gen. Sibley; was at one time dep- 
uty Register of Deeds under Louis Oliver. He steamboated a 
good deal and bought furs. He is now in the employ of Mr. 
Langevin, in the Sixth ward, and has reached the age of 68 
years, and yet he has not a gray hair in his head. He remem- 
bers when the flats and indeed all the river bottom on the west 
side of the city was thick with large elm, ash and other trees. He 
was at the head of thirty men who felled these trees, and they 
were so thick — the trees — that wagon roads had to be cut through 
them to enable the teams to get out of the forest. There is now 
only one solitary elm left, and some provision should be made to 
preserve it as a link of the past. Mr. Oliva is a quiet, trust- 
worthy man, unmarried and has no relations in this country ex- 
cept an uncle at Prairie du Chien. 


This year witnessed also the organization of the first steam- 
boat line, consisting of the solitary steamer " Argo," which was 


desio-ned to run once a week from Galena to St. Paul. This 
result was effected through the personal efforts of Hon. H. M. 
Rice. Previously stray boats only made their way to our city, 
but now the shrill whistle of the little Argo evoked shouts of 
praise from the crowd which congregated on the levee to witness 
her arrival. Capt, Russell Blakeley was then clerk of the Argo, 
and when she sank and the Dr. Franklin took her place, he was 
clerk of her also. He subsequently became the captain of sev- 
eral laree boats, but as he did not come to St. Paul to reside 
until 1856, I shall speak more fully of him in the events of that 


At the first election ever held in St. Paul (says Mr. Folsom,) 
in the year 1847, forty-nine votes were cast, and one of the 
judges of the election, after announcing the result, stated that 
John Dobney had received the full number and was duly chosen. 
As some of the judges were somewhat set up by copious drinks 
of water from the Mississippi river, they wanted to know who 
this John Dobney was, when the aforesaid judge conducted 
them to a closet near by, and pointing, said — *' There he is ! " 
which proved to be a demijohn filled with whisky. In those 
days such candidates invariably received the full number of 
votes, and of course were always elected. 

MORE OLD settlers. 

Aaron Foster was born in Pennsylvania in 181 7; came to 
St. Paul in 1847 ; was a carpenter by trade ; elected a justice of 
the peace; enlisted in the army; died about 1864. I did not 
know him. Daniel Hopkins was born in New Hampshire in 
1787; came to St. Paul in 1847; opened a store and did con- 
siderable business ; owned a good deal of real estate in the city, 
among which was a lot on the corner of Third and Jackson 
streets, for which he paid ;^200 ; now worth ;$35,ooo. He died 
in 1852 aged 65 years. Wm. C. Renfro was a young Virginian 
of ability and education, and came to St. Paul in 1847. ^^^ 
was a graduate of medicine; very social in his nature, and yet 
there was an air of dejection about him. He was found frozen 
to death in his night clothes, under a tree, on the 3d of January, 
1848. It seems that he indulged too freely in drink, and in a 

OF ST. PAUL, MIN^\ 71 

crazed condition of mind wandered from his home, then on 
"" Prospect Hill," towards town, and becoming benumbed with 
the cold, fell and died. Intoxicating drinks in the end will get 
the better of the bravest and the best. G. A. Fournier, who 
-came the same year, is dead. 


This year a town site was surveyed and the place was 
known as " St. Paul Proper." Tlie tract of land laid out for a 
town site embraced ninety acres, and included the present busi- 
ness portion of the city. Real estate was then so scarce that 
every available means were taken to save it, and so I find that 
the surveyors or originators of our town plat crooked our 
streets, and cut corners and made our thoroughfares narrow in 
order to secure space enough to build a city on, and they suc- 
ceeded admirabl}' well. Had there been more land probably 
our streets would have been narrower and meaner, but crooked 
and narrow as they are, thus commenced the nucleus of the 
present St. Paul. 


The old "St. Paul House," of which mention has been 
made, was greatly enlarged this year by J. W. Bass, and here 
good accommodations could be found, and here the elite and 
aristocracy of the place congregated to be entertained by ** mine 
genial host." When the old logs were taken down, to give place 
to the present edifice, they were found to be perfectly sound, and 
the Gfavel of the " Old Settlers' Association " was made out of 
some of the wood. In 1853 the building stood upon quite a 
bank, and I remember quite vividly of crawling up on a ladder 
to get into the house. At one time in this building the post- 
office was kept ; at another time the Masons and Odd Fellows 
met; at another time the " High-Cock-a-Lorums," or territorial 
officers, convened and issued the proclamation for the organiza- 
tion of the Territory. 


Miss Bishop, who came to St. Paul in 1847, alluding to the 
embryo city at this early day, writes : *' It must be borne in mind 
that St. Paul was a small trading post giving yet no sign of its 


unprecedented growth. The council fires of the red men were- 
but just extinguished on the East Side and were still brightly 
blazing on the west of the river. Our village was almost daily 
thronged with Indians, where they frequently encamped in larger 
numbers than the entire adult male population of the Territory. 
Tragic scenes were often enacted by them when intoxicated and 
provoked by fraud practiced upon them by unprincipled whisky 
sellers." These Indians continued to dance and to beg about 
the city up to, and including, the year 1 849, and many of them^ 
were about the streets in 1853-4. 


The first tailor, first physician, first Sunday and day schools,, 
first survey of town site, first hotel, first regular line of steamboats, 
all originated in the year 1847, ^.nd the little band of settlers 
of that year began to assume form and to exhibit marks of civi- 
lization. Of course affairs were in a crude condition, but a 
moulding process then commenced which has been going ou' 
ever since. Among the potential elements which conduced to- 
this end was the establishment of schools ; schools, the great 
basis upon which all society rests ; schools, the shimmering 
lights which penetrate the darkness of barbarism and bigotry ;; 
schools, the bulwarks of the nation's liberties ; schools, the great 
elevators of the people and the refining powers of the modern 
aee. To these elements I attribute the first start and onward 
march of the prosperity of our city from that day to this. 


Just below the old log house which stood where the Mer- 
chants hotel now stands, on Third street, diagonally across the 
flat, was a square tent occupied by a family of Indians. This 
was in 1847, when Mr. Simeon P. Folsom lived in the said log 
house. For some time it had been observed that all was silent 
about the tent, when, on Mr. Folsom's repairing to it, he found a 
dead Indian in it, killed by a knife in the hands of another Indian, 
who had crept silently into the tent and stabbed him. The family 
had vacated the premises. The Indian stabbed had killed the 
sister of the assassin, and he had carried out the old Mosaic 
injunction, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." This- 


was the peculiar condition of affairs in and about the city in 1847, 
and in giving these incidents I do so to show how rapidl}' has 
been the march of civiHzation since then. Now no Indians can 
be seen in our midst, except, perhaps, a few friendly ones who 
reside at Mendota. 



First Delegate to Congress — First Miller — First Wagon Made in Minnesota- 
First Clock and Watch Factory — First Blacksmith — First 
Two-wheel Dray — Events and Biographies. 


A ladies' sewing circle aided very materially in procuring' 
funds for a new school house this year, which was also used for 
religious purposes, lectures, etc. It was built in the latter part 
of August, 1848, and stood on Third street where the late Dr. 
Alley's block now stands. The building was burned in 1857. 


The first Protestant sermon in St. Paul was preached in 1 844, 
the second and third in 1846, and the fourth in 1847, t>y Rev. Dr. 
'Williamson. The first prayer-meeting was held in November, 
1848, and H. M. Rice tendered ^200 and ten lots towards the 
erection of the first church. And even a temperance society was 
organized, so that really the barbaric effects of the Indians and 
the deteriorating power of the half-breeds began to give way 
to the refining influences of schools, sobriety and religion. 


Wisconsin was admitted into the Union as a state in 1848, 
so that Minnesota, being originally a part of Wisconsin when she 


took her place among the family circle, was left '*out in the cold," 
but the question of a territorial existence was agitated, and the 
first public meeting ever held in this city was called this year to 
consider this matter; and subsequently a convention was held at 
Stillwater. This convention framed resolutions in favor of a ter- 
ritorial organization and then proceeded to the election of 


and Hon. Henry H. Sibley, of Mendota, was chosen, Mr. 
Sibley was also elected at the same time delegate to Congress 
from Wisconsin, so that, in reality, he represented Minnesota and 
Wisconsin jointly. 


This year the land upon which St. Paul stood having been 
surveyed, was purchased for the proprietors, and although a good 
many hungry land men were present at the sale, nobody bid 
against them and St. Paul became a fixture for all time. H. H. 
Sibley, Louis Robert and A. L. Larpenteur were chosen trustees 
for the owners. 


In 1848 the place was a mere collection of huts with Indians 
and birch-bark canoes promiscuously plenty, while at this time 
I find only one log grocery, the principal store in the place. This 
year John R. Irvine bought the whole tract of land from St. Peter 
street up to Fort street, for ;^300, now worth one or two millions. 
Where the City Hall stands was then a large grove of trees. The 
first store was on the corner of Bench and Jackson streets. In 
1 847 there was not a sawed frame building in the town, and only 
a few frame buildings in 1848-9. 


Very few persons who stand on the corner of Jackson and 
Fourth streets and gaze up at that elegant building erected by 
C. D. Gilfillan at a cost of ;^ 150,000, or scan the Davidson block 
on the opposite corner, or more closely inspect another elegant 
edifice occupied by the First National Bank, on still another cor- 
ner, can scarcely realize that here, in the year 1848, was once a 
deep ravine, at the bottom of which flowed a stream of water, 


and over a bridge the people went their way up Jackson street 
to a hill near Fifth street, and then came to a halt — for this was 
the end of the road. Down deep in this ravine a man by the name 
of Lott Moffett erected a house, and here he kept boarders. 
Rev. E. D. Neill writes me as follows : — 

"In April, 1849, the Saint I'Ari. House, kept by J. W. Bass, being full, I was 
directed to a story and a lialf frame house not finished, kept by Mr. Moffett, which 
was some distance north of what you call the 'Castle,' and on the prairie. His 
boarders were so many that they were obliged to sleep on the lloor. A man by the 
name of Baldwin, born in Alabama and still living in Minneapolis, the keeper of the 
'Ocean Wave Siloon,' allowed me to sleep with him on a buffilo robe placed on a 
rough home-made bed-stead. I stayed ten days at Moffett's. He attended the first 
religious service I conducted in the little school house on Third street, and C. V. P. 
Lull volunteered as chorister. When I went to settle my bill with Moffett, he 
said — ' T can't take full price, for I went to your preaching and it atmised me.' Lott 
was a kind man and I did not consider his language sarcastic ; but supjDosed that 
amused in his mind was the synonym of pleased." 


Mr. Moffett was born in New York in 1S03, and died in St. 
Paul in 1870, aged 67 years. His early education was some- 
what neglected, yet he was a man of strong, sterling principles, 
and did a great deal of good in the day in which he lived. He 
served his trade as a millwright ; learned the business of woolen 
manufacturer, and ran a mill. In July, 1848, he came to St. Paul 
and purchased the land on the St. Anthony road known as the 
Larpenteur farm. He disposed of this and went to Arkansas ; 
engaged in mercantile business, bridge building and lead mining, 
and returned to St. Paul in 1850, where he built a hotel and ran 
it until his death, it being strictly a temperance house. He was 
not a politician but a leading Mason ; was married three times, 
and was universally respected. 


Mr. Moffett was an eccentric but an honest man ; always 
working, always striving to make mankind better. He was a strict 
temperance man — indeed, I may say, violently so, and yet he 
was kind and popular. From time to time he added stories to 
his building until it peeped above the level of the street, and then 
with his own hands he added other stories, until, when he died, he 
had what was popularly called " Moffett's Castle " — three stories 
below ground and four above. He finished it himself, and when 


completed it was a very respectable looking building, except the 
peculiarties of the man, which were made apparent in the many 
gable ends which adorned the edifice. The spring which ran down 
the ravine has dried up ; the ravine has been filled in ; the old 
" Castle " has been torn down ; the good old man with long gray 
hair and beard is dead; and now rises in increasing force the 
incoming of a new age of money, brains, brick, mortar, com- 
merce ; and just right here, at the crossing of these two streets, 
is where the busiest part of the city is seen. The world is on a 
" teanter," as the boys say ; when one man goes up the other 
comes down. The motion is perpetual and the end is certain. 
Some are dropping from the see-saw board of life, while others 
are clambering into their places to try their luck in this great world 
of strife ; and so the sickle of time moves on, cutting down a 
wide swath among the ranks of the old settlers and among the 
old things of the past, to make place for the untried and the nevv\ 


The bell is now silent, and, like its maker, gone to rest, 
pushed out of existence by the new Market Hall clock, which 
regulates the hours. On the corner of Fifth and Jackson streets 
was a hill that intercepted travel, and on this hill Mr. Illings- 
worth, an Englishman, built a small house, and on the first floor 
of this house he ran the original watch and clock establishment 
in St. Paul, and our old Cit>^ Hall bell, as it used to strike the 
hours, was a reminder that it was made by his skillful hands. 
When the city cut Jackson street through, the owner built the 
first story of his house where the hill was, of brick, leaving the 
second story wood, and then in a few years more, when both the 
proprietor and his wife were laid in their graves, the old land- 
mark was torn down and in its place arose an imposing brick 
building. Mr. Illingsworth was a large, fleshy man, with a fine 
countenance, and his wife was equally as fleshy. He was a very 
ingenious mechanic, well versed in his profession, slow and 
methodical, yet sure. They left quite a family of children, sev- 
eral of whom still reside here. He was *' a fine old English 
gentleman, all of the olden time." 

And so goes the world ! The man who made the clock is 
gone, the place where the clock was made is gone, and the music 


of the bell itself is gone, and a sound from the past comes back 
and asks — 

"Whither are we going?" 

and it echoes back again — 

"Going! Going! Going!" 

General Sibley was sent as a delegate from Minnesota and 
Wisconsin to represent this then section of the country in the 
year 1848. While in Congress he labored for a bill organizing 
the Territory of Minnesota ; succeeded in getting the bill through 
the Senate, but at the instigation of Senator Douglas Mendota 
was made the capital. General Sibley, though a warm friend of 
Douglas, strenuously opposed this, and the name of St. Paul was 
finally inserted. Mendota was placed in the bill by Douglas, who 
had visited Fort Snelling and knew the character of the country 
in that section. It was through the efforts solely of Gen. Sibley 
that St. Paul was made the Capital of the State of Minnesota. 

B. F. HOYT then AND NOW. 

Among those who came to St. Paul in 1848, was the gen- 
tleman whose name heads this paragraph. He was generally 
known as " Rev. B. F. Hoyt," or " Father Hoyt," and is now 
remembered among the old settlers as such. Born in Norwalk, 
Connecticut, in 1800, he early worked on a farm and taught 
school ; settled in Western New York ; married' Miss Elizabeth 
Haney, sister of the noted Rev. Richard Haney, of Illinois, in 
the year 1826, and then emigrated to Fulton County in the same 
State, being twenty-five days on the road. Previous to his mar- 
riage, or in 1825, he went to Ohio to secure 400 acres of land 
out of 2,000 which were given to his grandfather on his mother's 
side for losses sustained during the war of the Revolution. 
Unlike young men of this modern age, he did not desire to start 
his marriage life with a $600 piano and a Brussels carpet, but he 
went to work and furnished his house with furniture of, his own 
make, and both he and his wife were happy. In 1848 he came 
to St. Paul with his family and built a tamarac log cabin on the 
corner of Eighth and Jackson streets, on what is now known as 
the Oakes place. His claim extended down Eighth to Broadway, 
up Broadway and Jackson back to the bluff. The amount paid 


for this claim was quite inconsiderable, but the property now 
would bring several hundred thousand dollars. Mr. Hoyt was 
the means of building the first Methodist Episcopal Protestant 
Church erected in the Northwest ; was a local preacher in the 
church ; married the first white couple in St. Anthony ; was one 
of the founders of the Hamline University, and made several 
trips to New York in the interest of that institution ; probably 
sold the first small tract of land disposed of in St. Paul, being 
one acre for ^40, to W. C. Morrison, corner of Ninth and Jackson 
streets, on part of which iVIr. Morrison now lives, (1885,) — prop- 
erty worth ;$75,ooo; sold the Oakes block, less a small strip, for 
$1,200 — same property sold for $40,000, then for $75,000, worth 
now $150,000; sold the Borup block, where the Baptist Church 
now is, for $150 — worth to-day from $75,000 to $100,000, with- 
out improvements ; sold to Rev. C. Hobart one lot on Eighth 
street, looking down Sibley, for $20, and gave him the adjoining 
lot worth now $35,000; sold Oakland Cemetery for $30 per 
acre; worth 35,000 per acre ; bought the island at White Bear 
lake for a small sum — now worth many thousands of dollars ; 
owned Bronson's Addition when it was worth $10 per acre — 
worth now $8,000 and $10,000 per acre; built the Yandies man- 
sion on Dayton's bluff in 1855 or 1856, and was largely interested 
in real estate in Red Wing, Cannon Falls, etc. When his son 
Lorenzo and his friend W. G. Hcndrickson were breaking their 
present farms in Rose township, worth $5 per acre, and things 
to them looked blue, his remark was, " Well, boys, do not be 
discouraged ; you will live to see this land sell for $50 per acre." 
They thought him visionary, but he continued long enough on 
earth to see them both make their first sale at six times his esti- 
mate, or $300 per acre, worth now $700 and $1,000 per acre. 


Mr. Hoyt was running over with kindness and goodness ; 
he was also a religious man, and identified himself closely with 
the interests of the Methodist Church ; his doors were ahvays 
open to the preachers, from the bishop down. He was also gen- 
erous. He gave largely to the poor ; did not despise the Indians 
or the lowly ; James Thompson, the former slave, found in him 
a friend ; and hundreds of poor families were made glad by wood 

OF ST. PAUL, 3fINN. 79 

which was sent them by Father Hoyt. After his death, a man 
who was cutting timber for him and hauling it to town, said he 
had orders for eight cords of wood in his pocket at one time, 
to be taken to different poor famiHes. Wood in those days was 
worth from ^8 to $9 per cord. An old settler, now living, can 
testify to how he felt, when destitute of money and board bill 
due, Mr. Hoyt gave him $20. He never cared for riches or 
office ; he vvas like his Maker, always going around doing good. 
He was on the best of terms with all the ministers of his day, 
and had unbounded faith in the future greatness of St. Paul. 
Of eight children five are living, Lorenzo, Judge J. F., Wm. H., 
Mrs. J. H. Murphy, and Mrs. George H. Hazzard. 


I first met Mr. Hoyt at Red Wing in the year 1853, or 
thirty-two years ago. He was a slender man, moderately tall, 
with a round head, a little bald on top, quite deliberate in speech, 
decided in expression, and rather hesitating in manner. He was 
then dealing largely in real estate. He stooped a little, and if I 
remember correctly, always carried a cane. He very seldom 
indulged in mirth. When walking he passed along vigorously, 
evidently impressed with the duties he had to perform. He was 
a man of energy and endurance, constantly moving about for the 
benefit of others, and lived a good, plain, pure, unselfish life. 
One year before he died he called at the writer's house. The 
vigor of manhood had gone. The face was pale and pinched, 
the limbs were weak and tottering, the voice soft and plaintive, 
and the eye clearly showed that he was conscious of the coming 
end, and so he died as he had lived, a kind, genial, benevolent 
Christian man, and his memory is kindly cherished by a large 
circle of friends. His age was seventy-five years. 


At this time St. Paul was only a village. It is true some 
of the trees and underbrush had been cut out, and a few extra 
cabins had been added to the cluster. Indeed, it is said, that an 
old settler expressed great astonishment on counting eighteen 
chimneys in the fall of 1848, from which emanated smoke, to see 
how rapidly the place was growing. But the foundation had 
been laid for a city, and elements were at work moulding the 


plastic clay. Civilization began bucking up against barbarism 
and barbarism began to recede. Intelligence began to penetrate 
darkness, and the moral atmosphere began to grow purer; good 
men came in to push out the bad, and with this impetus the early 
settlers took courage and — held on ! 


•Mr. Lott was born at Pemberton, N. J., in the year 1826, and 
came to St. Paul in 1848, or 37 years ago. He was president 
of the Town Council of St. Paul before St. Paul was a city ; was 
a member of the Legislature for two terms, and City Clerk for two 
years. He was United States consul at Tehuantepec, Mexico ; 
was appointed by President Lincoln without solicitation, and held 
the office for several years. He was also a iaw\'er and land 
agent, and in early days was quite prominent. 


Mr. Lott is a small, modest, retiring, gray-headed gentle- 
man, who appears like one who had let go his hold on the af- 
fairs of life — or, rather, like one who didn't care whether school 
kept or not. He is kind and polite, and I never saw him out of 
temper. In the early days he was as active as any one could be 
in all matters that concerned the cit}% as the various offices he 
held fully attest. He is unselfish — not selfish enough for his 
own good. He shrinks from contact with the world when he 
ought, with a well-directed blow, to hit the world between the 
eyes ; but Lott won't do that, so I expect he will " continue on 
in the even tenor of his way " until gathered in by the reaper 
Death. Of late years his health has not been good, and yet I 
meet him almost daily upon the street, and the same pleasant, 
smiling face, and the same kind-hearted gentleman of the past, 
is equally the same kind-hearted gentleman of to-day. He is 
fifty-nine years old. 


Mr. Barton was born in Ohio in 18 10; was a millwright by 
trade, and put in the first water-wheel in one of the mills at St. 
Anthony P^alls. He came to St. Paul to reside in 1848, and 
purchased several acres on Phelan creek, near where Bilanski 
lived; sold this property for JS800 ; worth now ;> 100,000; re- 

OF ST. PA UL, 3nNN. 81 

moved to the flats of West St. Paul in 1849 or '50, where he 
laid claim to 160 acres; sold them for ;^i,500 — worth now, in 
view of new railroads, at least prospectively, ;^500,ooo! He 
then purchased 144 acres on the Fort road, for ;^900, where he 
lived many years and died in 1882, aged seventy-two. His 
property on the Fort road is well worth ;^2,ooo per acre, which 
would have made his purchase there worth near ^300,000. Of 
the original estate, however, there are only about twenty acres 
left, which, on his death, fell to his children, Mrs. Barton having 
died some years before. Mr. Barton dealt in stock, horses and 
furs. He was a tall, well-made man ; slow in his movements 
and in his conversation, but honest in his dealings. He lived a 
plain, frugal life; hated ostentation and clung to the old ideas 
of the past. W. T. Barton, his oldest son, now aged 35 years, 
was born in this city, but has of late years made Montana his 
home. Rudolph, his next son, is a dentist. All of the girls are 
married but one, who resides with her brother. 


" Billy Phillips " was well known among all the old settlers, 
for he had marked peculiarities which distinguished him above 
all other men. He was born in Maryland and was a lawyer by 
profession, and came to St. Paul in 1848. Although made a 
butt of in the day in which he lived, yet he was a man of con- 
siderable ability. He was passionately fond of speaking, and if 
he had been duly appreciated no doubt he would have left a 
better record behind him. The only trouble with Phillips was, 
he practiced too often at the " bar," and he seemed to be more 
spiritually inclined than his associates, and in view of the great 
latitude of these early days, that is saying a good deal. 

**In 1849 ^' M' Rice gave, without consideration, to Billy D. several lots, 
one on upper Third street about a square below the American House. Mr. Rice 
told him to make out the deed and he would sign it, which was done. Be it recorded 
as an instance of mean ingratitude, that Billy subsequently brought a claim against 
Mr. Rice for $5, for making out the deed, and Mr. R. paid it One lot Phillips sold 
in 1852 for $600." — Williams. 

"the balance just as good." 

Phillips made a speech on Kossuth, and in an evil moment 
Goodhue agreed to publish it, so Billy piled in the manuscript 


upon him, over forty pages in legal cap, until he plainly saw 
that the speech would take up all his paper, and he was in great 
perturbation of mind what to do. After walking the floor in deep 
meditation, he decided to print a column, and then added in 
parenthesis — *' The balance of the speech is just as good." After 
the publication Phillips came in with a large hickory club and 
two pistols and went for Goodhue in true western style, who 
finally compromised with him by giving him a receipt in full for 
an old advertising bill which he never expected to get, and 
Phillips went away somewhat mollified. Phillips was a queer 
fellow ! 


To write about St. Paul and not mention Mr. Hatch, w^ould 
be like playing Hamlet with Hamlet left out, for he was among 
the very earliest men who attracted the writer's attention, aw^ay 
back thirty-two years ago. There was something peculiar and 
striking about the man, which at once arrested the attention of 
everybody, and his long familiarity with Western life made him 
a valuable companion. He was born in New York in 1825;. 
came to Minnesota in 1843, ^^^^ St. Paul in 1848. He was 
largely engaged in the Indian trade throughout the Northw^est, 
and understood the character of the savages as well as any man 
living. He was at one time agent of the Blackfeet tribe, a very 
cruel and warlike people, but he held them in check, and though 
often narrowly escaping with his life, conquered them. It is 
related of him that once w^hen the Indians attempted to appro- 
priate goods without his permission, he coolly opened a keg of 
powder, lighted his pipe and told them to go ahead, and they 
went ahead, but it was a good way in advance of the powder. 
Indians don't like thunder storms of this character! All the old 
Minnesota soldiers remember ** Hatch's Battalion." Well, he 
was Major of this battalion in 1863, and held in check the 
hostile Indians on our frontier for about one year, when he 


When stationed at Pembina he found that two of the noto- 
rious chiefs who had taken a prominent part in our Indian 
massacre, were over the border in Canada. Of course they could 


not be taken as prisoners the other side of the line, so he 
employed strategy in the shape of copious rations of fire-water, 
and when Mr. Indians became gently impressive, they were 
bound to dog sleds, and the next morning Shakopee and Medi- 
cine Bottle woke up to find themselves within the boundary of 
the United States. They were held in bondage for some time at 
Fort Snelling, and were finally hung at that place in 1865. 
Among other crimes committed by these ferocious Indians, it is 
alleged that one of them seized an infant, crowded it into the 
oven of a hot stove, and held the mother tightly in his grasp 
until it was roasted. 


Major Hatch was an ordinary sized man, straight as an 
arrow, with a complexion quite florid. He was always cool, 
dignified, somewhat reserved, yet pleasant. Some years ago he 
purchased thirty acres of land on the bluff overlooking the city, 
now the property of Mr. Wm. Nettleton, for which he paid about 
$10 per acre. He then built a very fine house upon the premi- 
ses, and finally sold the property to the present owner. What 
Major Hatch then paid ;^io per acre for is now worth ;^30,ooo, 
or ;s&i,ooo per acre! A few years before he died he was in the 
employ of the Manitoba Railroad Company. He was a kind- 
hearted gentleman, an affectionate husband and father, and his 
memory is very generally cherished by those who knew him. 
He died in 1881. 


In 1853 I saw a bright, brilliant, black-eyed girl swinging 
on a gate which led to a small white house on Third street, the 
home of A. T. C. Pierson. She was full of youthful hope and 
happiness — the very picture at that time of a beautiful young 
girl, and merry thoughts bubbled all over in her twinkling eyes 
as she toyed with the rainbow tints of the future. Later she 
became the wife of Major Hatch ; later still the widow, sur- 
rounded with a family ; and although dark clouds of sorrow have 
shut out a great deal of the sunshine of her married life, still the 
charming Lotta of thirty-one years ago is still the matured, 
motherly, matronly, pleasant Lotta of 1885. 



William H. Nobles came to St. Paul in 1848; opened a 
wagon maker's shop and turned out the first wagon ever made 
in Minnesota. In 1856 he was elected a representative to the 
Legislature from Ramsey County ; laid out a wagon road to the 
Pacific Ocean ; discovered one of the best passes to the Rocky 
Mountains; entered the 'army ; was elected Lieutenant Colonel 
of the Seventy-ninth New York Volunteers ; was Cotton Col- 
lector for the government in the South ; U. S. Revenue officer ; 
Master of Transportation of troops ; and at the conclusion of the 
war, broken down in health, he repaired to the Waukesha Springs, 
Wisconsin, and then to the Hot Springs, Colorado, but his health 
continuing to fail, he returned to St. Paul and died in one of our 
hospitals, aged about sixty years. 


Mr. Nobles used to live in a brick house which stood in the 
middle of Rice street on the Como road. He was not an edu- 
cated man, but possessed good natural abilities. He had great 
confidence in himself; was ambitious, inventive, social, aspiring, 
very self-reliant, and withal, progressive. He was a man of 
energy, as was illustrated in his trip to the mountains, and he was 
also a hard worker. The old settlers will remember him as a 
good deal of a politician, with a hasty temper, but possessing 
many fine traits of character which still live as a memory of the 


It is somewhat remarkable that St. Paul, originally situated 
two hundred miles from any other important point, away from 
railroads, and struggling for existence amid Indians and half- 
breeds, had no outbursts of violence of any character up to 1848, 
nor since ; that is, there has been no great shock of border ruf- 
fianism which required the interposition of a vigilance commit- 
tee, as is now and has been the case in other frontier towns. We 
have had no riots, no wanton destruction of property, no public 
grievances which required the people to redress ; no loss of life, 
except a few murders ; no burdens of men in power, nor the im- 
position of rich men upon the poor ; but society has gradually 


qioulded itself silently into the better forms of civilization with- 
out those deleterious influences incident to the growth of other 
places. This is really remarkable, and due credit should be given 
to the Catholic religion, which early prevailed in this section, and 
which held in check the rougher elements of life. It is very true 
whisky was sold and drunk, and yet I hear of no damaging 
results from it except to the parties indulging, so that St. Paul can 
very justly point to her past history with great pride and admi- 
ration. It is also remarkable that of about thirty old settlers, 
most of whom have taken prominent part in our affairs, more 
than twenty-five came from Prairie du Chien ; that is, they emi- 
grated to that town, remained there a short time, and then pushed 
on to St. Paul, and have ever since been identified with our in- 


That tall man who has been traveling our streets for a quar- 
ter of a century and over, and who, to use a border expression, 
has been a " rustler," is the well-known Nathan Myrick, who 
was born in New York State in 1822, and who at the age of eigh- 
teen years came to La Crosse and laid out that town, a good 
slice of which he still owns. Mr. Myrick entered largely into lum- 
bering in Wisconsin in the years 1841 up to 1848, when he came 
to St. Paul and engaged quite extensively in the Indian trade, 
having at one time stores at St. Peter, Traverse de Sioux, Winne- 
bago Agency, Yellow Medicine, Red Wood Agency, Big Stone 
Lake, and at Lake Traverse. Mr. Myrick was also at one period 
largely interested in property at Lake Superior. At the time of 
the Indian outbreak all his stores at the above named places 
were destroyed by the savages, and while Mr. Myrick received 
some recompense of the government for his losses, he has other 
claims which he has been pressing at Washington about every 
winter for several years past. Of late he has been connected 
with various enterprises which required brains, money and pluck, 
but just now what he is doing, I do not know. 


Mr. Myrick is a marked character on the street in conse- 
quence of his height. In one respect he is like Hiawatha, " for at 
each stride a mile he measures," while like his prototype he used 


to deal largely in Indian trinkets. He is somewhat nervous, yet 
has a good deal of nerve, and when he sets out to do a thing he 
does it, if it can be done. He is venturesome ; a man of great 
energy ; reaches out into the future ; goes in on his judgment, and 
if he gets tripped, he don't " kick," as the boys say, but *' picks 
his flint and tries again." His head is round, his eyes small and 
piercing, a nose denoting courage, with a full flowing beard and 
a well put up body, mark him as an advanced guard in the wave 
of civilization. He married a Miss Rebecca Ismon, of Vermont, 
in 1843, who is still living. Of eight children three survive. 


Mr. Cavender still clings to life although he had what 
resembled a paralytic stroke years ago, and the doctors said he 
could not remain with us but a short time, and then he immedi- 
ately discarded all medicine and all physicians and began to 
improve rapidly, and is now quite well. He w^as born in New 
Hampshire in 181 5; came to St. Paul in 1848; commenced 
blacksmithing and wagon-making on Robert street, having pur- 
chased the establishment of Wm. H. Nobles ; married Miss 
Elvira, daughter of Daniel Hopkins, and continued in business 
for many years, when he sold out to Quimby & Hallowell. 


as he is more generally known — having been a prominent deacon 
in the Baptist Church for several years past — is a thin, spare man, 
with sharp features and with bright, twinkling eyes, a long gray 
beard, and always wears a pleasant smile. He is a quiet, good 
citizen, interested in religious matters, and has a happy faculty of 
minding his own business, and thus, with a pleasant word for 
everybody, glides smoothly along down the hill of life, greatly 
respected as one of our oldest and best citizens. 


Mr. Freeborn was born in 1816 ; came to St. Paul in 1848 ; 
at one time owned considerable property in this city and county ; 
was a member of our City Council ; removed to Red Wing in 
1853, where he had large interests; also at Cannon Falls ; was 
a member of the Legislature in 1854-5-6-7, and Freeborn County 
was named after him. He was known as one of the trio of Free- 


born, Daniels and Moss, but in 1862 he emigrated to the Rocky 
Mountains and finally settled in California. He was a man of 
progressive and speculative ideas, energetic, always scheming, 
and had a happy faculty of getting other parties interested in his 
enterprises. He was a quietly spoken man, of rugged appear- 
ance ; self-possessed, and never was afraid to venture. 


was a native of Connecticut ; a lawyer, a speaker, an editor, and 
a man of considerable ability. He settled in St. Paul in 1848 
and took a prominent part in the Stillwater convention. Domes- 
tic difficulties drove him to drink, so that his brain became 
disordered, and he put an end to his brilliant career by jumping 
from the roof of a steamer while on her way from Galena to St. 
Paul, and died at the age of thirty years. 


This gentleman came to St. Paul in 1848 and remained 
Tiere only a short time, being connected with David Olmsted. 
He owned some property on the corner of Fourth and Jackson 
streets, where he had a store and dwelling house, but finally 
returned to Indiana and died in California. 


•was born in New York in 181 5 ; came to St. Paul, in 1848, at 
which time he says there were only sixteen families. He mined 
for lead in Galena at an early day, and built the first brick store 
■on Jackson street that had marble window caps and marble door 
jams. He was in trade here a number of years and finally 
accepted the position as right-of-way agent for the Manitoba 
road, and though somewhat advanced in years he performed his 
duties well and made some money. Mr. Morrison is a thick-set 
man, cool and methodical in his movements ; quiet and unosten- 
tatious in manner, and as a business man, energetic. He lives on 
part of the acre he bought of " feather Hoyt " for ^40, on Jackson 
street, where he has made it his home for over a quarter of a 
century. He has several sons grown to manhood. The young- 
est son, Samuel, studied law with Gov. Davis, and is now- 
practicing in the city. Mr, H. is a quiet, pleasant gentleman, 
and very generally esteemed by those who know him. 



was a lead miner at Galena, and on moving to St. Paul in 1848 
he purchased the property on the corner of Wabasha and Third 
streets, now known as the Warner block. In 1853 I was offered 
this property for ;^ 1,700, and upon it stood a small building 
occupied by the Marshall Brothers, where they sold Sligo iron 
and other hardware. The same property would probably now 
bring $50,000. " But why didn't you buy it? " asks a real estate 
dealer. " Well, for several reasons : First — I did not think the 
property was worth the amount asked. Second — I did not then 
think St. Paul would ever grow to reach 120,000 people; and, 
Third — I hadn't the money." And so the years have come and 
gone ; the city has continued to grow ; real estate has constantly 
advanced; and even wise men, and moneyed men, and sagacious 
men, and business men, have all been deceived in their estima- 
tion of the value of real estate in the present bustling, growing, 
solid, tangible city of St. Paul, less than forty years ago a place 
of nine cabins and fifty inhabitants ! Why didn't the people of 
that period buy and hold all the land then in sight ? Echo asks, 
" Why ? " 

don't grumble IT IS A LAW. 

The old settler fifty-five or sixty years of age, with a grown- 
up family about him, begins to feel that he is being pushed out 
of the way by the younger elements which surround him. The 
old places where he used to keep his books, and his papers, and 
his hat, and his boots, have been appropriated to other purposes, 
and even the old rocking-chair in which he has sat for so many 
years, he is daily in fear of being removed out of his reach for- 
ever, and in its place to find a new and stylish double-and- 
twisted-back-brcaking-modern-institution, in keeping with the 
new-fangled notions of this modern age. Then again the 
cooking is not just what it used to be, for the children have 
got possession of the mother and are moulding her to their 
ideas of '' style." And then again, " Papa doesn't keep up with 
the age ! What is pleasant to him, isn't pleasant to us. He 
wants to sit by the fire and read his paper ; we want to dance ; 
he is sober and thoughtful, and likes to talk of the past ; we like 
fun; he is too cautious and holds us back, but we guess we 


know what we are about; he is a Httle old-fashioned in his 
notions, but then we have to humor him. It is so strange that 
people as they grow old have such peculiar ideas of life ! 
Wonder if we will ever be like that good, kind old father ? 
Hope not." And the young, and thoughtless, and buoyant, and 
gay, and ambitious, and loving children, thus imperceptibly and 
unknowingly gradually push '* the old man " along to the end of 
the log where he sits musing upon the past. 

Now, my friend, look at the matter philosophically. The 
tree grows and sends out its branches. Its grand limbs have 
stood the storms of many winters, and under its cooling shade 
hundreds have gathered to shield themselves from the piercing 
rays of the noonday sun. In course of time new shoots are 
visible just below the old limbs, and as these new shoots put 
forth their vigor they draw vitalizing power from the roots, and 
the old limbs begin to droop, and then in their growth the 
younger shoots, under a law of nature, commence quietly to 
crowd out the old limbs, and they fade, sicken, die, drop, while 
the new limbs take their places, to be in turn pushed out by the 
same law as that which acted upon their parents. We cannot 
expect our children to entertain the same views of life that we 
do. It is an impossibility to be always young, and what may 
appear to us as innovations upon our own rights, is but the 
natural growth of human nature. Don't flatter yourself that 
you are the only man of advanced years who is jostled and 
crowded by " the young bloods " of your own household, for 
such is not the case ; the law is general, and all must sooner or 
later bow in submission to it. And yet, there is a consolation, 
and we have it in the following beautiful lines from the lamented 
poetess, Adelaide Proctor : — 

"What is Life, father?" 

"A battle, my child, 
Where the strongest lance may fail, 
Where the wariest eyes may be beguiled, 

And the stoutest heart may quail. 
Where the foes are gathered on every hand, 

And rest not day or night, 
And the feeble little ones must stand 
In the thickest of the fight." 


"What is Death, father?" 

"The Rest, my child, 

When the strife and toil are o'er; 
The angel of God, who, calm and mild. 

Says we need fight no more ; 
Who, driving away the demon band, 

Bids the din of the battle cease; 
Takes banner and spear from our failing hand, 

And proclaims an eternal peace." 


Born in Canada in 1822, Mr. Duion came to St. Paul in 
1848, or thirty-seven years ago, unable at that time to speak a 
word of EngHsh. He is a real live, active Canadian-Frenchman, 
and although sixty-three years old is as bright and as fresh and 
as jolly as a boy of twenty years. He was the first miller in the 
city, and is a miller by trade, though at odd times he ran a steam 



He purchased a lot in Kittson's addition for ;^ 1,000; sold It 
for ;$2,ooo ; worth $15,000; owned a lot on the corner of Cedar 
and Ninth streets, for which he paid $2,000 ; worth now $15,000. 
In 1857 he removed to Pig's Eye, and with $8,000 established a 
saw mill, sank all his money, and came back poor and barefooted 
to St. Paul, where he has since resided. 


On the corner of Cedar and Minnesota streets was a large 
pond of water, and in 1848 Duion used to shoot ducks that swam 
upon its surface. After he came to St. Paul everything looked 
so uninviting that he became disgusted and wanted to get away, 
but he could not, for he had no money. He had not the faintest 
conception then that St. Paul would grow to what it is now, or he 
might have been a very rich man. 


As I have already said, he could not speak EngHsh, but he 
undertook to drive oxen for a living, and as he did not under- 
stand " haw " from *' gee," his oxen went directly opposite to 
what he wanted them to do. One day he was passing a small 
house where there was a good-sized cabbage garden owned by 


a widow, and he yelled out " haw," and the oxen started for the 
cabbages on a run, and before he could comprehend the fact that 
he should have said " gee," a greater portion of the cabbages 
had been devoured, and the widow came very near killing him 
for his ignorance. ** Oh ! my ! but dat vas one very great time. 
How dat old woman did saccreme ; did say, * By damn ! ' "^ 


Mr. Duion is a small man and a constant laborer. He is 
frank, cheerful, active, and philosophical. He has a nice little 
home, has raised a family of five children, four boys and a girl, 
and three of his boys are engineers. He looks upon the bright 
side of life, and though sometimes he may feel a little sad at 
" what might have been," yet he brushes away the cobwebs of 
the past and laughs in the sunshine of the present, as he sings : 

** Let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears, 
While we all sup sorrow with the poor; 
There's a song that will linger forever in our ears, 
Oh, hard times, come again no more, 

" 'Tis the song, the sigh of the weary, 
Hard times, hard times, come again no more; 
Many days you have wandered around my cabin door. 
Oh, hard times come again no more." 

And thus in his quiet little cottage home he no doubt enjoys 
more of life's sweetness than many who count their millions. And 
why should he not? He has less to annoy him, less to burden 
him, less to fret him, less to make him stingy and mean, less to 
force him to be hypocritical and overbearing, less to take away 
the best attributes of a man, and more to bring out the qualities 
that adorn the brows of those who toil for their daily bread. 
God aid the poor and the lowly in all the walks of life, for they 
are nearer the perfection of manhood than those who are warped 
and distorted by their everlasting greed for money ! money ! 
money ! Pleasant cottage ! humble home ! happy Duion ! 


Mr. Monteur, to whom allusion has already been made, 
came to St. Paul in 1848, and claims to be the oldest black- 
smith in the city, even ranking Col. Wm. H. Nobles, of whom 


I have written. He was born in 1812, and is now seventy-three 
years of age. He was among the old French settlers, and can- 
not realize the great growth the city has made since he first 
came here. He bought a lot of Louis Robert for ^70, sold it 
back to him again for ;^ 1,000; worth now ^20,000. Joseph Vii- 
laume, born in France, and who came here in 1849, is now dead, 
and I can glean but little information about him, except that 
which I give in another chapter. 


Born in New York in 1828; learned the carpenter's trade; 
came to St. Paul in 1848; worked at his business; was twelve 
years in Wisconsin ; in 1858 carried on the wholesale and retail 
grocery business in St. Paul; entered the army in 1861 ; re- 
mained in the service two years as Orderly Sergeant of Com- 
pany D ; lived in Ohio and Michigan several years, and 
since then has resided in St. Paul. Mr. Irvine is a brother of 
John and George. He is a tall, slender man ; quiet in his habits 
and unpretending in his manners. Last year, to add to his 
other troubles, he met with a serious accident to his left hand. 
He once owned, or supposed he owned, fifty-one acres in the 
city, fronting the river, which cost him ^60 ; worth now ^1,000- 
000. It is the old song — tee-ter-taunter ! tee-ter-taunter ! one is 
up while the other is down! tee-ter-taunter! He is now the jan- 
itor at the Capitol. 



Mr. Hoyt is a son of the late B. F. Hoyt, and was born in 
Ohio in 1830; came to St. Paul in 1848; went to school to 
D. A. J. Baker, and he says he was an admirable teacher, the 
best he ever had ; took singing lessons with L. M. Ford ; 
worked in the wagon shop of Col. Wm. H. Nobles one winter ; 
saw the first printing press landed, and aided in squaring the 
first chase in which to hold the forms of the old Pioneer. Then 
was three years at school East; returned home and studied law 
with Ames and Van Etten ; was admitted to the bar by terri- 
torial judges, but never practiced. Where the State Capitol and 
High School buildings now stand, he used to trap for foxes. 
He has seen most of the land upon which St. Paul now stands 


taken up at government price — ^1.25 per acre — or by land war- 
rants, which cost even less. He thinks this same land is now 
worth ;^ 1 00,000,000. To the casual reader these figures may 
appear large, but when an estimate is made of what all the land 
is worth upon which St. Paul now stands, it will be found that 
Mr. Hoyt's figuring is not much out of the way. He held the 
office of Judge of Probate twice ; was County Auditor ; County 
Commissioner ; a charter member of the St. Paul Library Asso- 
ciation ; was engaged in the milling business several years ; has 
been and is now a member of the board of public works and a 
water commissioner. Of late years he has been largely inter- 
ested in the settlement of important estates, and has never had 
any trouble in getting bondsmen, a fact which shows the con- 
fidence reposed in his honesty, his honor and his manhood. 


He purchased forty acres of land in Rose township, for 
^22 per acre, now worth ;^500 per acre; and some for $50 per 
acre, now worth $600 per acre; gave ;^i,300 for a block on 
Dayton's bluff, now worth $25,000. He could not even con- 
ceive thirty-six years ago that St. Paul would be the city it is 
to-day, and hence he placed no value upon real estate, and 
yet he has seen hundreds of grand bargains slip out from under 
his hands. 

He speaks in the highest terms of the old settlers ; of their 
integrity, honor, enterprise, manhood, and of their kindliness of 
heart. Having known many of them he thinks there never 
was a better class of people in any community. 


In 1856, when about twenty-six years of age, young Hoyt 
made a trip to Washington, and while there he fell in love with a 
niece of Senator Douglas and she reciprocated his feelings, but 
being a young man unknown to the family, he met with opposi- 
tion. Becoming somewhat desperate, he called upon Hon. H. M. 
Rice, our delegate in Congress, who quietly heard his story and 
then asked — " Well, what do you want ? " to which he promptly 
replied — " Why, I want the girl." Mr. Rice smilingly remarked, 
" I shall see the family, shall dine with them to-day ; call 
to-morrow." Young Hoyt called and soon after got his girl 


and married her, but she died some years afterwards, and in 
memory of the part Mr. Rice took in the matter Mr. Hoyt 
looks upon him as not only being a prince then but as a lord 
now ; for few men would have turned aside from the cares and 
duties of the United States Senate to interfere in a matter of 
love between two young people. 


On the street Mr. Hoyt moves along rapidly, rarely bowing, 
and one would infer, not knowing him, that he was somewhat 
misanthropic, yet this peculiarity in his nature comes more from 
a concentration of his thoughts and a total abnegation of the 
outer world. Off the street he is one of the most sociable of 
men, free, frank, with a fine sprinkling of fun. He sympathizes 
with the Methodist Church, of which his father was a devoted 
supporter, although he himself is not a member. Politically he 
is a Democrat, and has always been elected when he ran for 
office. Physically he is a well-knit man, with all his faculties 
well rounded out and evenly balanced ; is temperate in his 
habits ; sympathetic in his nature ; devoid of rant or ostenta- 
tion ; is modest ; retiring ; avoids publicity, and yet he is quietly 
and constantly aiding many meritorious enterprises. 


Born in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1 846 ; came to St. Paul in 
1 848 ; was engaged many years on the river bringing eggs, 
butter and other produce to this market. He has been a con- 
tinuous resident of this city for many years, and has seen many 
and great changes. He is a young man, bright, generous, active, 
a lover of horses, devoted to his mother, and a pleasant citizen ; 
a man of discretion, sagacity and good judgment. 

Perry Sloan was well known to all the old settlers. He 
was a great lover of the horse, and rode many races. He was 
an active, popular young man, and accidentally fell out of a 
window in the Merchants hotel and was killed, in 1866, aged 32 
years. Came to St. Paul in 1 848. 


Mr, Sloan was born in New York State in 1 808 ; to 
St. Paul in 1848; was in the lead regions of Wisconsin, and 


struck the first lead in that section ; when in this city he carried 
on the business of house painting, and died in 1879. 

John's mother was born in New York in 181 1; came to 
St. Paul in 1848, and has Hved here ever since. She is a fine 
looking woman, with not a gray hair in her head. Has had nine 
children, seven of whom are living. 


Col. Cruttenden, of whom I have spoken briefly in another 
place, left St. Louis in 1846 and removed to Prairie du Chien, 
where he was employed by Brisbois & Rice. In 1848 he came 
tqST. Paul and remained up to 1850, when he took up his resi- 
dence in St. Anthony and engaged in business with R. P. Russel. 
He then went to Crow Wing and was connected with Maj. J. W. 
Lynde. In 1857 he was elected to the House of Representa- 
tives, and on the breaking out of the war was commissioned 
Captain Assistant Quartermaster ; was taken prisoner, and on 
being exchanged rose to the rank of Colonel. At the close of 
the war he was honorably discharged, and soon after removed 
to Bayfield, Wisconsin, where he has held many offices and is 
greatly esteemed. He is a pleasant, genial gentleman, well 
known and well liked. 


Mr. C. was born in 1846, in Ohio; came to St. Paul in 
1848; was a pupil of the late Miss Harriet E. Bishop, and 
attended the Washington and Adams schools until 1861 ; worked 
in the carriage manufactory of his father, Dea. W. H. Cavender, 
until 1864, when he was employed in the Provost Marshal's 
department until August ist, 1864; enlisted, but did not go 
south, being on detached service until May nth, 1865, when he 
was mustered out ; entered service in the St. Paul postoffice as 
distributing clerk, doing the work which now requires twelve 
men ; May ist, 1866, went on the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, 
which then was built to Elk River, thirty-nine miles, as brake- 
man ; was promoted to baggage-master and passenger conductor ; 
remained with that company until 1877, when he changed to the 
Northern Pacific, and is now with that company as one of the 
oldest passenger conductors on the road, or in the State. Never 


had an accident to a train that caused loss of Hfe or Hmb. Has 
ahvays hved in St. Paul and always intends to. Married Decem- 
ber 7, 1869, to Miss Jennie Nixon, daughter of William Nixon, 
another of our old settlers. 

TRAVELED 1,000,000 MILES. 

Mr. Cavender is not only the oldest passenger conductor in 
the State of Minnesota, having entered the railroad service in 
1 866, or nineteen years ago, but he has traveled i ,000,000 miles, 
and what is remarkable still, during that time he never had an 
accident to his train by which a limb was injured or a life lost. 
This is a remarkable career in the history of a railroad conduc- 
tor and gives one the impression that he bears a charmed life. 
He made his first trip over the St. Paul & Pacific road when 
there were only thirty-nine miles of road built, and has been in 
active service as a railroad man from that day to this, having 
seen some 3,000 miles of road constructed in this State during 
this time. Of course so successful a railroad man must in time 
become president of some gigantic railroad system, and Presi- 
dent Cavender would sound quite as well as that of Deacon. 


Mr. Cavender is a stirring gentleman. In his capacity of 
conductor he is prompt, cautious, careful, prudent, quick, pleas- 
ant, just the man for the place. He is a good business operator ; 
knows his duties and performs them, and with the same peculiar 
smile which ever glows over the pleasant face of the good Dea- 
con. He speaks with his eyes ; comprehends in a minute ; is in 
sympathy with the locomotive ; is on time ; catches the idea of 
the traveler at once ; grasps the situation and masters it. He is 
physically not large, but wiry, a straight-forward, manly gentle- 


Mr. Murphy introduced the first two-wheel dray into the 
city, and was generally known as teamster and an ardent parti- 
san. While celebrating the election of H. M. Rice to Congress, 
who lived in the only house then on Summit avenue, a rocket 
pierced his body and killed him. He was born in Ireland in 
1827; emigrated to America in 1846; resided for a time in 


Brooklyn, New Orleans, and at Fort Snelling, and came to St. 
Paul in 1848. He was noted principally for his sincere devotion 
to the Democratic cause, and yet he was a hard-working, indus- 
trious man. 


Captain John Haycock came to St, Paul in 1848. He was 
a captain on a river steamer, and then opened a wood yard on 
Robert street, where he carried on the business for a number of 
years. Captain H. is a tall, quiet man, and has run on the river 
as a steamboat captain all his life, and is now engaged in that 
occupation, and was so engaged at the time he carried on the 
wood business. H[e lives at Winnipeg. 


Mr. Robert was born in Missouri in 1830; worked on the 
homestead until the age of seventeen years, when his uncle. Cap- 
tain Louis Robert, brought him to Prairie du Chien, where he 
finished his education and came to St. Paul in 1 848 ; kept books 
for Louis Roberts in the old World's Fair store, which stood on 
the corner of Third and Robert streets ; some years later he 
became a partner not only in all Mr. Robert's stores but in the 
steamboat trade ; in the early part of the fifties he made many 
trips from Redwood and Yellow Medicine to New York and 
Philadelphia, his money being carried in a belt worn around his 
body, the usual way in those days of carrying on banking. He 
was at one time connected with W. K. Murphy in steamboating 
on the Minnesota river, owning and commanding the steamers 
Time and Tide and Jeannett Robert. In i860 he dissolved part- 
nership with his uncle and continued the boating business alone, 
carrying troops during the late war. At one time he was in the 
employ of the government at St. Louis. After giving up steam- 
boating he engaged in general merchandise near Granite Falls, 
Minnesota, doing a large and profitable business. In December, 
i860, he married Miss Sarah A. Clark, a teacher for some three 
years in what is now^ the public schools of St. Paul. He w^as a 
member of the Common Council at one time, and died in 1877, 
greatly respected, as he was a high-toned, honorable man, at 
whose record the finger of reproach was powerless to point. He 
left a widow and five children in comfortable circumstances. 




A short, well-knit, close-grained man is Mr. Rhodes, who 
is an excellent engineer and a pleasant, social gentleman. He 
was born in New York in 1826, where he was educated ; learned 
the trade of a machinist, and in 1 846 visited the Lake Superior 
region in the steamer Sultana, of which he was engineer ; came 
to St. Paul in 1 848 and engaged in the lumber business with the 
late David Fuller ; then ran a saw mill ; was engineer on various 
steamboats which plied on the river for years, and is the oldest 
engineer in Minnesota. He is at present engineer at the GilfiUan 
block, and is recognized as one of the oldest and most sprightly 
of the old settlers, a jovial, industrious, hard-working citizen. 





First Newspaper — First Printing Press — First Editor — First Territorial Organiza- 
tion — First Brewery — First Masonic Lodge — First Brick House — First Chapel — 
First Church Organized — First Proclamation — First Legislature — Mrst 
Bricks — First Baptist Church — First Fourth of July Celebration — 
First Regular Butcher — First Bankers — First County Election — 
First Stage Line — First Pump — First Democratic Con- 
vention — First Stone Building — First Deed — First 
Livery Stable — First School System — First Market 
Woman — First Burial Ground — First Gover- 
nor — First Court — First Hardware and 
Furniture Stores— First Bank — First 
Clerk of Court — First Drayman — 
First Territorial Officers— First 
Ferry Boat — First Register 
of Deeds. 

Wonderful Events of the Year 1849. 



June I, 1849, the Territory of Minnesota was organized, and 
then the only house in what is no\\- known as upper town, or 
above Wabasha street, was that occupied by the late John R. 
Irvine, to which allusion has already been made. It stood on 
the corner of, or near, Franklin street and Third, and around it 
was a luxuriant growth of hazel brush and saplings. On the 
corner of what was once Fort, now Seventh street and Third, 


where the old Winslow House used to stand, and where Mr. Fore- 
paugh has built a large block of stores, was a dense forest of 
trees, and at the foot of these trees ran a lovely brook, crossing 
the crude, natural street, and dancing on its way to the river over 
the ground on which at present stands the factory of Chapman, 
Drake & Co. 


One can hardly realize the fact that in 1849 Minnesota Ter- 
ritory had but about i,ooo inhabitants — now, 1885, 1,000,000; 
and the city 150 — now, 1885, 120,000; and only thirty houses 
existed where there are now several thousands, yet such is the 
truth. It is true the bill had passed Congress organizing a Ter- 
ritory, yet there was no newspaper here, no evidences of civiliza- 
tion, except a school, a church or two, and plenty of saloons ! 
It was good soil upon which to plant eastern intelligence, and it 


Probably the first person who conceived the idea of a news- 
paper in Minnesota, was Dr. A. Randall, of Cincinnati, August, 
1 848. He subsequently formed a partnership with J. P. Owens, 
and they jointly issued, at Cincinnati, the Minnesota Register, 
dated St. Paul, April 27, 1849, and this was really the first 
newspaper circulated in Minnesota. 

The first printing press was owned by James M. Goodhue, 
and arrived at St. Paul April 18, 1849, and the first bo?ta fide 
paper printed in this city and in the Territory was upon this 
press, April 28, 1849, and called the Minnesota Pioneer, 


Mr. Goodhue was born in New Hampshire in 18 10; came 
to St. Paul in 1849; died on the 27th of August, 1852, aged only 
42 years. He graduated from Amherst College in 1832 ; imme- 
diately commenced the study of law ; emigrated to Wisconsin, 
where he practiced his profession for a number of years ; became 
the editor of the Wisconsin Herald ; removed to St. Paul in 
1 849 ; brought the first press and the first type to the Territory ; 
issued the first paper printed in the Territory, and ran a success- 
ful career as an editor up to the period of his death, in 1852. 


From the time Mr. Goodhue arrived in St. Paul with his 
printing machinery, the city began to grow. The old press upon 
which his paper was printed has been used for some time in 
various country offices — was once in St. Cloud ; then in Sauk 
Centre ; but where it is now I don't know, but I do know where 
it ought to be — that is, in the Historical Society, carefully pre- 
served. In his first issue the editor said : " We print and issue 
the first number of the Pioneer in a building through which the 
out-door is visible by more than 500 apertures." 


James M. Goodhue, the first editor of the first paper pub- 
lished in St. Paul or in thq Territory of Minnesota, was one of 
the finest paragraphists ever in the West. He was a good-sized 
man, given a little to a rocking motion when he walked, but very 
quick in perception and quick to act. He had also a deal of 
humor, and a vast amount of sarcasm, which was plentifully 
applied when his angry pen set out to chastise an enemy. Added 
to this was an unqualified great courage, and an indomitable will 
power. He early foresaw the beauty and grandeur of Minnesota 
and the probable greatness of 


and never let an opportunity slip wherein he did not paint their 
beauties. His industry was untiring. The columns of his paper 
show this, and had he lived he would have been an immense 
power in the land of his adoption, and a man of great wealth. 
Withal he was a person of impulse; quick to resent what he 
deemed a wrong, and yet magnanimous in his acts. While in 
the discharge of what he considered his duties, he had occasion 
to severely criticise two old citizens and office holders (Col. 
Mitchell and Judge Cooper,) and this criticism brought on a fight 
between Goodhue and the friends of the latter. 


Williams, in his history, says : 

"Goodhue, immediately after the appearance of his paper, had been in the Leg 
islature and started down street in company with a friend. After leaving the build- 
ing a few steps, they met Joseph Cooper, a brother of Judge Cooper, who at once 
advanced and struck at Goodhue. Both then drew pistols, Col. Goodhue having a 


single-barrel pistol and Mr. Cooper a revolver. Some parleying ensued, when Mr. 

Cooper declared — **I'll blow your G d brains out." Sheriff Lull here ran 

up and commanding peace, disarmed the parties, but it seems Cooper still retained a 
knife, and Goodhue another pistol, with which they renewed hostilities. Some one 
endeavored to hold Goodhue, which gave Cooper an opportunity to stab him in the 
abdomen slightly. Goodhue then broke away and shot Cooper, inflicting quite a 
serious wound. Cooper again rushed on Goodhue, stabbed him in the back, on the 
left side. Both parties were then led away and their wounds dressed, neither being 
fatally inj ured. Col. Goodhue seems to have acted on the defensive during the 
whole rencontre." 

I will simply add, that while the attack of Cooper was 
unjustifiable, the language of Goodhue was also unjustifiable, 
and should never have been used. 


Mr. Goodhue was a genial man in private life ; full of wit 
and humor; an able editor, a stirring citizen, a valued friend. 
Soon after arriving in St. Paul, in 1853, I had occasion to sort 
out some of his letters then in the office of the Pio7icer, edited by 
Joseph R. Brown, now dead, when I came across one from Gen. 
Sibley, then a delegate in Congress, which read nearly as follows : 

Washington, D. C, Dec, 18 ^j. 

Dear Goodhue : — I have a letter which I presume is from you, but it has no 

date or signature. 

Yours, H. H. Sibley. 

Such were the peculiarities of Mr. Goodhue that when 
absorbed in thought he would seize a paper and write a letter 
just as he would an editorial, without date or name. Mr. Good- 
hue ran the first ferry boat, just at the end of what was known 
as Lamb's Island, then located in the river below the Union 
Depot, now gone. He resided in a neat, white house, which 
stood on the corner of Third and St. Peter streets. 


He left a widow, who subsequently married Dr. T. T. Mann, 
and they have ever since resided near or in the city. Mrs. Mann 
is an exceedingly pleasant and amiable woman, always ready to 
aid tlic afflicted; quiet, gentle, loving, she may justly be classed 
with Mrs. Irvine as among the marked women of the past. Mrs. 
Tarbox, I believe, is her only daughter living. She also is an 
amiable and talented woman, and greatly respected by all who 
know her. A son formerlv lived in Chicacfo, but now resides in 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 103 

this city. Mr. Goodhue left considerable property, which is now 
very valuable, but he left to his widow and his children that 
which is more endearing and more valuable — a good name — a 
fact quite as gratif}'ing to the editorial fraternity as it is to those 
who more lovingly revere his memory. 


A short, chunky man was Mr. Presley. He was a little 
different from the ordinary cut of men ; had a solid, lymphatic 
characteristic, but a pensiveness which marked the man of 
thought and the man of business. He was born in Germany in 
the year 1 823 ; was raised in St. Louis ; married in 1 843 ; moved 
to Galena in 1849, and thence came to St. Paul the same 
year. He commenced with nothing forty years ago, dealing in 
fruits, cigars, &c., and from this he drifted into the retail and 
wholesale grocer}^ business, but of late years made fruits his 
specialty, dealing largely in them, and buying directly from the 
points where they are raised, eastern California and other places. 
He was the original fruit dealer in this city, and up to the day of 
his death he was by far the heaviest merchant in this line. Mr. 
Presley was a member of the Common Council three continuous 
years, and Chief Engineer of our fire department for three years. 
He purchased the first steam fire engine brought to St. Paul. 
He took the position of Chief P^ngineer at a time when the 
department was in bad odor, and left it in an elevated and effi- 
cient condition. What is remarkable, he was the only merchant 
in St. Paul, or in the State, who had been continuously 


He was a living illustration of a fact, that a legitimate business 
closely adhered to for a series of years, will prove triumphant in 
the end. In person Mr. Presley represented the German type of 
man, with heavy features and a slow and cautious movement. 
He spoke a little broken and somewhat thick, owing to a throat 
difficulty, yet expressed himself in a clear and terse manner. 
He was never idle ; never had been ; always attended to his 
own business, and plodded on day after day with renewed deter- 
mination to add something more to his financial gains. When 
Chief of the fire department, who does not remember the kindly 


acts of his departed wife, who in the coldest of weather, when the 
jaded firemen were ahiiost ready to give out, replenished them 
with hot coffee, not once, but many times ? of her presentation of 
flags to the gallant boys ? of her constant efforts to encourage 
and sustain them? And who was kinder to the firemen than 
Bart. Presley? Many a once young man now growing gray, 
will remember these kindly acts — these sweet memories of a by- 
gone day. Mr. Presley erected years ago various tenement 
houses on Eighth street, and among the number was one known 
as the Club House. Only a few years since he built an elegant 
business block on the site of his old stand, and at the time of his. 
death was estimated to be worth ;$ 300,000. Quiet, unobtrusive, 
industrious, solid, yet public-spirited and enterprising, Mr. Pres- 
ley was satisfied with his success, but he did not live long enough 
to enjoy the fruits of his toil, dying in St. Paul from blood 
poisoning, on the 30th of June, 1884, aged 62 years. 


Gov. Ramsey had been married only a few years when he 
was commissioned Governor of the then Territory of Minnesota. 
He arrived at St. Paul on the 27th of May, 1849, and declared 
the Territory organized on the first of June of the same year.. 
In conversation with him he gives a very interesting account of 
his landing at the levee ; of the crude condition of the then 
embryo city ; the isolated and inferior character of the houses ;: 
of the dense mass of trees, the running brooks, and the ra\ines- 
which met his view, and the sad feeling which came over him 
as he strolled all alone and marked what was to be the cit>' 
of his future life. Then all the bluff between Bench street and 
the river, from near the foot of Jackson street to the upper levee,, 
w^as in a wild, uncleared condition, the only building between the 
two points on the south side of Bench street, being a log hut 
under the bluff. He walked along Third street, and when in 
front of what used to be the gas company's office, below Robert 
street, he saw a peculiar building with a projecting portico, evi- 
dently the best in the place, and he inquired of a bo}', pointing 
to the house — " What building is that? " wlien he was informed it 
was for the Governor, the first intimation he had of his new 
home. It was made of boards and belonged to the '' Minnesota 

OF ST. PAUL, MINN. 10 o 

Outfit," having been renovated by the company to receive his 
gracious person. After visiting the city he boarded the boat and 
steamed for Mendota, where he met Gen. Sibley, who gave him 
a warm and cordial invitation for both himself and his wife to 
make his house their home, which v/as the first stone dwelling 
built in the Territory. Mrs. Ramsey, not knowing anything 
about the condition of the country, desired to commence house- 
keeping at once in the unique place on Third street (which she 
had not yet seen,) but the Governor, in his off-hand manner, 
thought it advisable to wait a short time, and so they both 
accepted Gen. Sibley's invitation and made his hospitable resi- 
dence their home for about a month, when they removed to their 
new quarters in this city, where they remained until the Governor 
built his new house, which formerly stood where his present 
residence now stands, corner of Exchange and Walnut streets, 
only the old house fronted on Walnut street, while the new fronts 
on Exchange. This visit to Gen. Sibley reconciled Mrs. Ramsey 
to frontier life in the West. 


At that time, says the Governor, looking down Third street 
from Cedar, one could see but a few small log houses, no regular, 
roads, plenty of trees and underbrush, running streams, strolling 
Indians, and but few human white beings, and these partook of all 
the characteristics of frontier life. Now, in 1 885, gazing down 
the same street, one sees solid, massive business blocks, with a 
stream of life pouring in and out of them, denoting the growth 
of the city in the brief period of thirty-six years, at present 
numbering over 120,000 people. 


I find that the year 1 849 was remarkable for the crystalliza- 
tion of affairs which culminated in the formation of society, 
for in this year I date a nucleus around which civilization began 
to cluster. Back of this was crudeness, Indians, frontier life,, 
semi-barbarism. It is very true H. H. Sibley had been elected 
delegate to Congress the year before (1848,) and a sewing and 
temperance society had been formed, and a school-house had been 
built on the bluff on Third street where the late Dr. Alley's brick 


block now stands, but still it was left for the year 1 849 to com- 
mence the career of a city that is now rapidly mergin;^' into 
immense metropolitan life. This year (1849,) the Territory was 
first organized and the first printing press and the first paper were 
brought into existence. The foundation for the first brewery was 
laid ; the first Masonic lodge was instituted ; the first brick house 
was built ; the first Presbyterian chapel completed and church 
organized ; the first Legislature met ; the first bricks were made 
(except those in hats ;) First Baptist Church organized ; the first 
celebration of the Fourth of July ; the first county election was 
held ; the first stage line established ; the first town pump erected, 
and the first Democratic convention met at the American House ; 
and hence 1849 "^^7 be justly considered as really the first year 
in which St. Paul began her onward march to reach the point 
where she now is — the Queen City of the New Northwest. Pop- 
ulation in the latter part of 1849, 800. Population in 1885, 
1 20,000 ! 


The first stone building in the city is that still standing on 
the corner of Sibley street and the levee, formerly occupied by 
J. W. Simpson. The former brick building at the corner of Fourth 
and Washington streets, was built under contract and paid for b\- 
Rev. E. D. Neill. It was the first brick building in the city and 
the first finished north of Prairie du Chien. The Methodist, now 
the Swedenborgian Church, on Market street, was the second. 
Subsequently H. M. Rice erected a brick dwelling at the corner 
of Third and Washington streets, now the site of the Metropoli- 
tan hotel. In the house at the corner of Fourth and Washington 
streets, two of Mr. Neill's children were born, and some of the 
trees recently standing in the yard were planted by him. Dr. 
Steele erected a brick block of dwellings adjoining the old house 
and occupying all the yard, and then the old house was torn 
down November, 1885. After Mr. Neill sold this house he 
built the brick residence now the oldest standing on Summit 
avenue, and formerly occupied by Mr. Ramsey Nininger. The 
first brick building on the bluff, overlooking the river, was built 
by Wm. G. Le Due, in the winter of 1853, and was occupied as 
the postoffice. What is remarkable is the fact, that the Timcs^ 

OF >'ST. PAUL, MIjVN. 107 

the Minnesotiaii and the Press were all printed in this building. 
It is now known as the Tivoli, where is for sale not brains but 
lager beer. 


The first Protestant church edifice in the white settlement of 
Minnesota, was built of wood by Rev. \\. D. Neill, in the sum- 
mer of 1849 (antedating the brick Methodist church to which I 
allude above,) on a lot adjoining his residence, and in the spring 
of 1850 was destroyed by fire. The Methodist, on Market street, 
was the first brick church. The Catholics built the very first 
church, of logs, in 1841. 


It will be remembered by the readers of this work, that I 
spoke of a small log cabin that used to stand on the corner of 
Third and Jackson streets, which, in the course of time, became 
the habitation of Judge Aaron Goodrich, Chief Justice of the Ter- 
ritory of Minnesota. Mr. G., in a paper he read before the His- 
torical Society, thus describes the room in which the meeting of 
the first Territorial officers was held, as well as the room in which 
the first proclamation of the Governor was written. He says : 

"The room was small but well lighted by a casement of 7x9 glass and sundry- 
openings between the logs. There were no chairs in the apartment — there was no 
space for a chair ; the apartment was in strict architectural keeping with the win- 
dow — it was just 7x9. Its furniture comprised one bed (upon which the Judge slept 
at night,) one stand and two trunks. Gov. Ramsey sat upon a trunk and wrote his 
proclamation upon the stand or small table (these are still in the possession of Mr. 
Goodrich,) and this proclamation, written on the 1st day of June, 1849, 3^ years 
ago, set in motion the Territorial organization which had been created by Congress." 

Now look at our stately Capitol, with its imposing dome, and 
its beautiful architectural effect, and its busy hive of State officers ! 
What a contrast and what a change in the brief space of thirty- 
six years ? 


The first Territorial Legislature met in the old Central House 
which used to stand on Bench street, overlooking the river, in 
September of the year 1 849, and at the session of this Legislature 
the village was organized into the " Town of St. Paul." 


The parlor of this old house, now gone, was used for the 
Council and the dining-room for the House, and about the hour 
of noon a waiter would thrust his head in among the solons and 
sing out — " Dinner! " and then there was a sudden adjournment 
and a general buzz. The Territorial officers also had quarters 


On the first of June, 1849, James Hughes issued a new pa- 
per called the JSImutSota Chronicle, which was consolidated with 
the Register, the first number of which was published in Cincin- 
nati, and both these papers, in their consolidated form, ceased to 
exist in March, 1851. Mr. Hughes was a large man, of good 
ability and great energy. He was a lawyer, kept a hotel, edited 
a paper, and was generally useful. He subsequently moved to 
Hudson, where he died several years ago, but I think he has a 
son in business in this city. 


The first Fourth of July was celebrated in a grove of trees 
where the City Hall now stands, in the year 1 849, Gov. Ramsey 
presiding; Sibley, Rice, Judge Goodrich, and about everybody 
else in the Territory were present. 

Judge Meeker, of St. Anthony, now dead, was the orator. 
The Declaration of Independence was read by W. D. Phillips. 
Among those who listened intently to the proceedings was Capt. 

Louis Robert. Louis said — '' I wouldn't give a d for Meeker, 

but that other fellow made an eloquent speech." As everybody 
admitted that his criticism was just — at least so far as the Dec- 
laration of Independence was concerned — all had to concede that 
Louis knew a good thing when he heard it, even if he were not 
posted in the educational affairs of the nation. 


My labors are constantly interrupted by some old settler, 
who, grasping me b}- the hand, draws a striking contrast to the 
St. Paul at the end of 1 849, with a population of 800, and the 
St. Paul of 1885 with a population of 120,000. The wooden, 
creaking carts of thirty-six years ago have given way to palatial 
cars, and metropolitan life has usurped the place of a few scat- 


tered log huts, bad whisky and Indians. ** But then," they say, 
" it is all right. It is a law constantly in operation, and if we fall 
under it, it is our destiny and nobody's fault." 


Up to 1849, or thirty-six years ago, the only ingress to Min- 
nesota or egress from it, was by the river, there being no stage or 
railway lines, in fact no roads. The trip to Prairie du Chien was 
made by Mr. Rice on a French pony, which performed the jour- 
ney on the frozen Mississippi river. When Mr. Rice came to 
Fort Snelling in 1 839, or forty-six years ago, he was twenty days 
on a steamboat from St. Louis to Prairie du Chien, and some ten 
days more from that point to this, making some thirty days from 
St. Louis to St. Paul. Now the trip is made in less than five 
days. A Frenchman, who knew the channel of the Mississippi 
by duck-hunting, piloted the boat to the fort, and on the way the 
passengers and others had to cut their own wood to keep up 
steam. James M. Goodhue, the pioneer editor, illustrates their 
plodding way by a race he claims was made by a saw mill lo- 
cated on the bank of the river, and the little steamer Tiger. 
Goodhue sarcastically and funnily kept the two together, nip and 
tuck, for several miles, when he solemnly declared the saw mill 
had beaten the Tiger and won the race. It was a capital take- 
off on the slow, poking movements of the boats in those early 


Dr. David Day was born in Virginia in 1825 ; removed to the 
lead region in Wisconsin in 1 846 ; was engaged in mining for 
three years ; studied medicine for some time, and then entered 
the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania, from 
which he graduated in 1 849 ; came to St. Paul in the spring of 
that year; practiced his profession with success, when, in 1 854, 
he entered the drug business, in which he continued some 
time ; was appointed first Register of Deeds of Ramsey County 
in 1849, and subsequently elected to the same office for two years 
more ; was a member of the Legislature from Benton County in 
1852 and 1853, and in the latter year was elected Speaker; re- 
tired from the drug business in 1866; appointed physician to 


the Winnebago Indians; was State Prison Inspector in 1871 ; 
in 1874 was a seed-wheat commissioner and Commissioner of the 
State Fisheries; and on June i, 1875, was appointed Postmaster 
of St. Paul, and has recently been re-appointed, and still holds 
that office to the satisfaction of the public. He has made an ex- 
cellent postmaster. He drew the plan of the first Court House, 
for which he received ten dollars. He is now one of the com- 
missioners of the new Court House Board, and no man has 
worked harder, or more unceasingly, or more devotedly, or more 
honestly for the erection of a magnificent Court House, than has 
Dr. Day. It is a somewhat singular coincidence that over thirty 
years ago the doctor originated and made the plans for the old 
Court House building, while now he is one of the most earnest 
commissioners of the new, and it is certainly most gratifying to 
him to know that his long and well matured plans will soon be 
fully realized. Indeed, on the 14th of October, 1885, the corner- 
stone of the new Court House was laid with Masonic ceremonies, 
and among the speakers was Dr. Day, who gave an interesting 
history of the old Court House and the progress of the new — 
a ^XX^mg fi?iale to his long labors in this laudable enterprise. 


Dr. Day put the first deed on record in Ramsey County, in 
his own hand-writing, and it can be found thus recorded, and 
indeed the whole book is in the doctor's hand-writing. 

The best monument to the memory of any man in Oakland 
Cemetery, is the beautiful Mortuary Chapel, built of Minnesota 
stone and on an entirely original plan, different from anything in 
existence, conceived and carried out by Dr. Day. Indeed, I may 
say that this has been Dr. Day's hobby by day and by night, and 
it is through his persistent and earnest efforts that the Chapel has 
an existence, and there it stands, and there it will stand for ages 
as a grand monument to his memory — artistic, useful, beautiful, 


Dr. Day is a man peculiar to himself; different from other 
men in this particular — he is quiet, moderate, decisive, metaphys- 
ical, thorough. He has excellent business and administrative 
qualities, and is, financially, in a comfortable position. He is 


complete master of his own affairs, and as postmaster has few, 
if any equals. Physically he is well developed, although one 
lung has been greatly affected, if not entirely gone. He stoops 
a little, talks slowly, evidently weighs his words, and as the mind 
evolves thoughts, twirls his mustache. His mind is of the meta- 
physical character. He loves research ; is a scholar ; sees things 
from a material point of view ; takes nothing on faith ; is metho- 
dical and self-reliant ; withal he is laudably ambitious. He owns 
the first iron-front building in the city, now known as the St. 
James hotel, corner of Third and Cedar streets, and has a fine 
residence on Dayton avenue. He is a good Indian scholar, and 
at one time collected a vast number of their lecrends with a view 
to publication, but has abandoned the idea. He has a uniform 
temper, yet is very firm ; speculates a good deal in the realm 
of " social science," yet is well posted in the manipulation of the 
" almighty dollar." He is a quiet, pleasant, undemonstrative, good 


In April, 1849, there were thirty houses in St. Paul; in June, 
1849, 142. Seymour, in his little work, says: 

"These buildings included three hotels, a State House, four warehouses, ten 
stores, several groceries, two printing offices, etc. Thex-e were twelve attorneys and 
five physicians, and not a brick or stone building in the place." 

Of course these were erected later. Twenty buildings were 
made habitable in three weeks. Population in January, 1849, 
840. Thirty buildings in January, 1849; over 200 in December, 
1849. So the town was pushing ahead. One thousand inhabi- 
tants in the Territory at the commencement of 1849, 4,780 in 
December of the same year. 


The first brick yard was opened and worked by D, F. Braw- 
ley, who recently died at St. Vincent, and who came to St. Paul 
in April, 1849. The yard was near where D. W. IngersoU's res- 
idence now stands. He made 300,000 brick in 1 849, and most 
of them went into the residence of Rev. E. D. Neill and the 
Methodist Church on Market street. Mr. Brawley says that 
" this is the best laid up brick building in this city, and if not 
taken down, will stand for years." Contractors better look at it. 


I do not know what other special business Mr. Brawley was 
engaged in during his residence here, except as I remember his 
running a ferry boat and was once a member of the Legislature. 
He was a good deal of a politician and very decided in his con- 
victions. As a man he was generous, kind-hearted, social ; 
physically, strong and energetic. He was about sixty years old 
when he died. In his humble sphere he did a good deal towards 
laying the foundation of our present growth and greatness, and 
deserves more than this brief mention. He has three children in 
the city, one married daughter, one single, and one son. 


One of the most conspicuous land-marks of the city in the 
past, was the old American House, a long, white wooden build- 
ing with a portico running the whole length of it, which stood 
on the corner of Third and Exchange streets, where the brick 
building formerly used for street cars now stands. This house 
was opened by Rodney Parker in 1849, ^^'^^ ^"^^ run by Airs. 
Rodney Parker for several years. Here the stages left for St. 
Anthony ; here politicians met and discussed questions of great 
public moment ; here balls and dinner parties were given ; here 
strangers and citizens gathered for social intercourse ; here bar- 
gains in real estate were made ; here men of means from the 
East were inveigled into various schemes of speculation in which 
they usually lost their money, and here ran rampant ** a feast of 
reason and a flow of soul." Mr. Parker was succeeded by the 
Long Brothers, one of whom is dead. 


Of the original landlord, Parker, I can only say he was born 
in New Hampshire somewhere in the year 1814; came to St. 
Paul in 1 849 ; kept the American House — (or rather his wife 
did) — secured a claim of 160 acres of land near Hamline Univer- 
sity, costing him ^10 per acre, or rather $2,000, worth now $160,- 
000 ; farmed some, and died about 1 874, close to sixty years. 
He was a tall, spare man, quite moderate in his movements 
owing to ill-health, yet a quiet, unobtrusive citizen. 

Mrs. Parker was a large, masculine looking woman, of fine 
business qualities ; stirring and energetic ; a lover of money, and 
through her industry and economy amassed quite a property. 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN, 1 73 

She was a woman of strong prejudices, and not having any chil- 
dren, adopted several, to one of whom she gave the bulk of her 
wealth. She died, I think, in 1883. 


Messrs. Willoughby & Powers came to St. Paul together in 
the year 1849, and erected a barn on the side of a ravine near 

Fourth street, where they opened the first livery stable and ran 
the first one-horse stage to St. Anthony. Their business so 
increased that they soon put on the route a four-horse Concord 
coach, and then came in the opposition lines, and stages were as 
plenty as blackberries. 

Mr. Willoughby was born in Vermont in 18 12 or '14; 
mined and drove stages in Galena in 1848 ; came to St. Paul in 
1849 and opened a livery stable, as has already been noted. He 
acquired considerable property, and when he died, which was 
only a few years ago, he left an estate worth $100,000. 

Willoughby was a man of immense humor; was well 
known as ''Bishop Willoughby, of the ^olian Church;" was 
prompt, pleasant, accommodating, and very companionable. He 
was taken sick and died suddenly, greatly regretted by a large 
number of old friends. 

Powers was a man quite eccentric; born in 181 8; died in 
1868. He was not so fortunate as his partner in amassing 
wealth, yet he was a good business man, and was much 
esteemed by those who knew him. 


Mr. Smith was born in Ohio in 1799; educated at Oxford, 
Ohio ; was a lawyer ; appointed Secretary of the Territory of 
Minnesota by President Plllmore, in 1849; came to St. Paul the 
same year ; was Secretary of the Historical Society ; was active 
in establishing common schools in the city, and was a man of 
decisive character. He was the target for politicians to shoot 
at, but he survived all their shafts; resigned his office in 185 1, 
and died in 1866. I did not know him. 


Not the great millionaire of Milwaukee, but the former 
Marshal of Minnesota, was born in North Carolina; graduated 


at West Point ; served in the Florida war ; also in the engineer- 
ing department ; studied law at Yale College ; settled in Cincin- 
nati ; enlisted in the Mexican war ; was commissioned Colonel ; 
was severely wounded ; presented with a sword ; was appointed 
Marshal of Minnesota; came to St. Paul in 1849; in 1850 was 
nominated for Congress and beaten ; removed to Missouri, 
where he died in 1861, aged 52 years. Col. Mitchell was a 
brave man, a pleasant gentleman, but his own enemy. 


Secretary Smith, who had taken great interest in our school 
system, at a meeting called to consider the question in 1849,. 
mo\ed that a committee be appointed to ask the County Com- 
missioners to divide the town into school districts, which w^as 
done, and three school houses were recommended to be opened 
— one on a lot donated by Mr. Randall, one in the basement of 
the Methodist Church, and one in Mr. Neill's lecture room- 
Miss Bishop, Miss Schofield and Rev. C. Hobart were designated 
teachers, and from this small beginning has grown our magnifi- 
cent school system, with some twenty elegant school houses,, 
hundreds of teachers and thousands of scholars. " Tall oaks 
from little acorns grow." 


Just think of it, reader! In 1849 the Sioux Indians owned 
all the land on the west side of the river, where the Sixth ward 
now is, and the w^hites onl}- owned a strip on the cast side, so 
that barbarism had full sway across the Mississippi, wdiile ci\ili- 
zation was struggling for a foothold on the east side. One shrill 
war-whoop and every soul could have been murdered, but dis- 
cretion and fairness with the Indians marked the old pioneers, 
and soon the silent influences of a better life began to push 
along the tepees, and with them their inmates, until now I find 
the dominant white race occupying almost ever)^ foot of soil in 
the State of Minnesota, and the process is still steadil\' going on 
— pushing ! pushing ! pushing ! 


The events of 1849 ^I'owd upon me rapidly, for some of the 
men most prominent in our past history came to St. 1\\ul during 
this year, and some of the most stirring events transpired. 

OF ST. PAUL, MINN. lir, 

Cajjt. E. Y. Shelly, probably the oldest printer now working 
at his trade in the State of Minnesota, was the foreman in the 
office of the Clironicle arid Register, and came to St. Paul in 
1849. Mr. Shelly has stuck to the "case" for thirty-five years. 
He has "locked" himself up in his profession, and has nearly 
run off an *' edition " of a purely printer's life. He is the " type " 
of an unrelenting " compositor." Has turned the " period " when 
he could not very conveniently engage in any other business, and 
as the oldest printer he has no " parallel " in the State. Pie has 
set up many a " paragraph," " revised his proof," and is nearh' 
ready "to go to press." Mr. Shelly is a quiet, industrious gentle- 
man, quite retiring in his disposition, yet social in his nature. 
He plods on in the even tenor of his way and has, I think, passed 
the mile-stone of fifty-five years. He enlisted in the Third U. 
S. Dragoons and served in the war with Mexico under Gen. Zac. 
Taylor; entered the Union service in 1861, as First Lieutenant in 
Brackett's Independent Company of Cav^alry, and with two other 
Minnesota companies were attached to the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, 
which was organized at Benton Barracks, Mo., Capt. Brackett 
being appointed as one of the Majors of said regiment. Capt. 
Shelly succeeded him ; served in the army of the Cumberland ; 
was detached from the regiment in the spring of 1864, and 
ordered to report at Fort Snelling, where Brackett's Minnesota 
Battallion was organized ; marched to Sioux City and joined 
Gen. Alf Sully's Northwestern Indian Expedition against the 
hostile Sioux ; served through the campaign, mustered out in 
spring of 1865. 


Major McLean was born in New Jersey in 1787; was a 
brother of Judge McLean of the United States Supreme Court ; 
learned the printer's trade at Cincinnati; in 1807 published a 
paper at Lebanon ; was a member of the Ohio Legislature in 
1 8 10 for three sessions ; an officer in the war of 1812 ; came to 
St. Paul in 1849 at the age of sixty years, to engage in the news- 
paper business; in November, 1849, was appointed Sioux agent 
at Fort Snelling ; held the office four years; elected Commis- 
sioner of Ramsey County in the year 1855, and died of a cancer 


in 1 87 1, aged 84 years. McLean township was named after 
him. He was a tall, slender gentleman, a little lame, a rapid 
talker, a truthful, honest, good man. 


Was born in Ohio in 181 8, of Welsh descent; worked on a 
farm in early life ; attended college at Cincinnati for several years, 
and then learned the printing business ; became a partner with 
Maj. McLean in the publication of the Chronicle and Register ; 
came to St. Paul in 1849 ; was editor of the Mimtesotian, a whig 
organ, for seven years ; was appointed Quartermaster of the 
Ninth Minnesota Regiment in 1862 ; mustered out in 1865 5 ^i"^- 
veted Colonel ; appointed Register of the land office at Taylors 
Falls in 1869, an office he held at the time of his death, which 
occured September 11, i8>^4. 


All the early settlers could easily recognize J. P. Owens in 
a crowd of men, for he was a man deeply interested in politics 
and made this a specialty. He was an aggressive writer ; a 
strong partisan ; and whenever a primary meeting was held he 
was always there. He gravitated as naturally into politics as a 
duck does into water. He was among the first, indeed I ma}' 
say, he was the very first Whig editor in the State, and even after 
the Whig party had been dead and buried, Owens held on to the 
corpse, but early drifted into the Republican ranks, and after Fre- 
mont was nominated for President, did good service for the 
party. The writer had occasion to measure editorial lances with 
Mr. Owens a great many times, but politically we agreed. He 
was a political tactitian, and used his power to good advantage 
when he could. 


As an illustration of his peculiar methods to circumvent a 
political opponent, (as in one sense at that time I was,) at a party 
given in honor of the Legislature at Mr. Raugh's ice-cream saloon 
on Third street, my empty glass standing at my plate, was filled 
with champagne three times, and was found empty three times. 
As I represented the temperance element in the Legislature at 
this time, it was charged upon me as having drank the liquor, 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 117 

when the fact was I never touched it, but some of my political 
enemies did, and thus by this little trick it was intended to injure 
my influence with that portion of the Legislature which did not 
approve of spirituous liquors, but it failed. 

Owens gloated over the act, and if I remember correctly, 
charged me in his paper the next morning with disposing of the 
sparkling wine. I don't say that he drank the champagne which 
rightfully belonged to me, but I do say he was a party to the 


Those were days of personal epithets instead of arguments, 
and as the Times, which was edited by the writer, and the Min- 
nesotian, edited by Owens, were rivals, of course some very hot 
words were used, and the public had come to believe that we 
were personal and deadly enemies. Meeting in an ice-cream 
saloon one evening, I took a seat at the same table with Mr. Owens, 
and was quietly disposing of my cooling " beverage," when a 
mutual friend popped in upon us and exclaimed : 

" Why, my God ! what are you doing here ? " 

" Only cooling off," I replied. 

** The d 1 you are ; why, I supposed you never spoke to 

each other, and would smash each other's faces the moment you 
met, and yet here you are munching ice-cream together." 

Mr. Owens was a man about sixty-six years old. He was 
tall and slender ; stooped a little and walked a little lame. He 
looked like a battle-scarred veteran, who having fought many a 
good fight, as he had, now rested upon his laurels. Some years 
ago he wrote a " Political History of Minnesota," but for some 
reason the manuscript was never published. He was quietly en- 
joying the repose of rural life on the St. Croix, when he died in 


Mr. Kellogg was born in New York State in 1822; enlisted 
in the army in 1845 j went to Mexico in 1847 J was in the war one 
year, or until 1848 ; removed to Jefferson barracks that winter, and 
in the spring of 1849 came to Fort Snelling, and from thence the 
same year moved to St, Paul, where he has resided ever since, or 
thirty-six years. He was in the Sixth Regiment Band as a clarionet 


player; was in the army five years, and discharged in 1850; en- 
gaged in the drug business with Mr. Hickox in 1850, and the firm 
built a brick store corner of Cedar and Third streets. The seventy- 
eight-foot lot upon which this store stood, cost :$500; now worth 
about ^40,000. 

In 1853 he entered into partnership with J, W. Bond ; ran 
the business up to 1857, when he sold to Bond, and in 1858 
bought out the stock of toys and notions owned by B. Presley. 
He continued that business until 1882, when he was obliged to 
relinquish it in consequence of the failure of his eye-sight. He 
purchased a lot in Rice & Irvine's Addition on Sixth street, in 
1854, for $150; sold the same in 1883 for about $8,000. This 
property was sold again in less than a year after, for $12,000, 
^16,500, and $20,000. Mr. Kellogg was married in 1855. 


Mr. Kellogg is a rather small gentleman, of an active, nerv- 
ous temperament, and has been a very industrious citizen. 
Although burned out twice, losing nearly all he had, yet he 
plunged in again and soon obtained his footing. He has toiled 
almost uninterruptedly for thirty odd years, and very few men 
have been more assiduous to business than he. He has an active 
brain, moves with celerity, arrives at conclusions quickly, and 
nobody can say that he ever cheated him out of a cent ; is a very 
temperate man, never drinks, chews or smokes. He is also 
frugal, economical and strictly honest ; has always minded his 
own business, and in many respects has been, and is now, a 
model man. About two years ago his eye-sight began to fail him, 
and now he is almost entirely blind, yet with this terrible afflic- 
tion upon him he is philosophical, cheerful, hopeful, manly. All 
the old settlers 1 know have, and I trust many new ones will 
have, a kindly feeling for M. N. Kellogg. 


Charles R. Conwa)' hung out his shingle as a real estate 
dealer, in a little, small white office which stood on a hill where 
Mr. Schurmeier's building now stands, on Third street, between 
Cedar and Minnesota, in the year 1849. ^^ claims to be the 
first real estate dealer in the city. \ 


The hundreds of market-women who now vend vegetables 
-at our market and elsewhere, will be glad to learn that Mrs. 
Kessler was the first market-woman, who came from Little Can- 
-ada, twelve miles from St. Paul, with a single ox hitched to a 
■cart, and who sold her potatoes, cabbages, pumpkins and other 
vegetables in as approved style as do our market-women of to- 
'day. This branch of business has grown to an enormous extent, 
and it is quite proper that the pioneer of this trade should have 
.a place among the Pen Pictures of to-day. 


From all I can learn the first burial ground was that owned 
by the Catholics and occupied quite a space back of the Stees' 
furniture store, on Minnesota street. A small log stable stood 
where the Pioneer Press office now stands, and directly in the 
rear of this, on the bluff, was the first chapel, erected by Father 
Galtier. The burying ground belonged to the chapel, and is the 
same piece of property upon which Stees' building, after being 
erected twice, fell both times. 


Thirty-six years ! Reader, stop thinking of business for a 
minute and ponder over the march of events ! What will be the 
future of the country west of St. Paul in the next thirty-six 
years ? What will be the status of this city ? I will anticipate 
your reply by prophesying, that St. Paul and Minneapolis will 
then be united as one city, with a population of 1,000,000 
people, and these cities, thus united, will supply an empire 
beyond of 5,000,000 inhabitants. ** Oh, but," you say, "this 
•can never be done." Not so fast, my friend! Look at the past! 
St. Anthony has been swallowed up on the one side and Wes." 
St. Paul on the other, and street cars and motor cars and rail- 
road cars and other appliances are now at work drawing to- 
gether slowly but surely these two cities, and when they come 
together, as they certainly will, it will be like the snapping jaws 
•of the mud-turtle — 

all at once. 

Then the new Capitol building, costing several millions of 
-dollars, will be located on 100 acres of land midway of the one 


great city, and grand hotels will invite the world at large to- 
partake of food unparalleled in sweetness and delicacy, and 
luxurious beds will beckon tired bodies to sweet repose. The 
superficial thinker who never gets above his nose, may and no 
doubt will scoff at these ideas, but he can't change either the 
immutable laws of nature or the immutable laws of God ; and 
just as sure as the cars rumble to the Pacific ocean, just so sure 
will St. Paul and Minneapolis, not many years in the future, be 
united and march to power and to greatness under the banner 
of one city. 


No one man has done more towards the growth of St. Paul 
in a religious, literary, moral, and educational point of view, than 
Rev. E. D. Neill. No one man's life has been more unceasingly^ 
devoted to the public interests, than Rev. E. D. Neill. No one 
man alone has done so much towards elevating public opinion, 
and towards laying the foundation of a great city here, as Rev.. 
E. D. Neill. History, when correctly written, will give him 
great credit for his zeal and his devotion to the public good. 


He was born in Philadelphia in 1823 ; educated at Amherst 
College, Massachusetts, and at the University of Pennsylvania ; 
graduated in 1842 ; ordained a Presbyterian clergyman in 1848; 
went to Galena to perform missionary work in 1 847 ; came to- 
St. Paul in April, 1 849 ; wrote one of the editorial paragraphs- 
in the first issue of the St. Paul Pioneer; contracted for the erec- 
tion of the first brick house north of Prairie du Chien, for his 
dwelling, now torn down, and planted with his own hands some of 
the trees ; erected the first Protestant church, and, as the Presbyte- 
rian manual mentions, organized in November, 1849, ^^e first 
Presbyterian Church in Minnesota, which was burned, and rebuilt 
on the corner of Third and St. Peter streets ; organized the House 
of Hope in 1855, and became its pastor ; was Territorial Super- 
intendent of Instruction in 1851, and held the office for two }'ears. 
State Superintendent Burt, in his report to the Legislature of 
1 88 1, wrote: 

"The Territorial law of 1851, requiring the Governor to appoint the Superin- 
tendent of Schools, remained until i860 on the statutes. In that year it was enacted 


that the Chancellor of the University, an officer then required to be appointed by 
the Board of Regents, should be ex-officio Superintendent. This act made Rev. K. 
D. Neill the first State Superintendent of Public Instruction. In his first State re- 
port he recommended the township system and the appointment of County SupL'rin- 
tendents; and that the apportionment of school funds should be made upon the 
number of scholars attending the district schools. Two of the early recommenda- 
tions have been realized and the third is yet to come." 

He organized and secured the erection of the Baldwin school 
in 1853 ; in 1855, through his efforts, brought into existence the 
College of St. Paul, now Macalester College ; took an active 
part in the Historical Society of Minnesota — might say he was the 
father of this institution — was Secretary from 185 1 to 1861 ; was 
Secretary of the Board of Education ; cx-officio Superintendent 
of Schools for several years ; Chancellor of the State University 
for two years; State Superintendent of Public Instruction three 
years; in 1861 was appointed Chaplain in the First Regiment of 
Minnesota Volunteers, and was on the field in the battles of Bull 
Run, Fairoaks and Malvern, and served two years ; was hospital 
chaplain in 1864; was one of the private secretaries of Presidents 
Lincoln and Johnson ; in 1869 was appointed Consul to Dublin, in 
which capacity he continued two years. He went abroad for the 
purpose of having access to the great libraries of the British Mu- 
seum and Dublin University, and while there Strahan & Co., of 
London, published his "English Colonization of America." He 
has also written the " Virginia Company of London," " Threads 
of Colonial History," " Founders of Maryland," and the Mus- 
sells, the old Albany publishers, have just announced another 
work from his pen, with the title of " Virginia Vetusta." His 
works have been used and commended by Gladstone and Ban- 
croft, and are works of reference at Harvard and John S. Hopkins 
University. He returned to St. Paul in 1871 and became Pres- 
ident of the Macalester College, but resigned his position, and is 
now a professor in the same institution. In 1871 he withdrew 
from the Presbyterian Church and entered the Reformed PLpisco- 
pal Church ; has written an exceedingly interesting and accurate 
history of Minnesota, the fifth edition published in 1883 ; per- 
formed the first marriage in Ramsey County after its organiza- 
tion ; built the first brick dwelling in the city ; lived for some 
time in Minneapolis until the Macalester College building there 
became a medical college and hospital, when he returned to St. 


Paul, where he now resides, superintending- and building up 
Macalester College, located midway the two cities, and acting as 
Presb}'ter in charge of Calvary Reformed Episcopal Chapel at 
the corner of Grand avenue and Milton, a new enterprise of his 


Mr, Neill is a well-formed gentleman physically, ordinarily 
tall, with light complexion, side-whiskers, and has a pleasant, 
courtly bearing. He not only has a very active brain, but is very 
active in his movements. He walks like a man on springs J 
moves directly forward to the object which he wishes to attain, 
and having attained his object, is ready to take up another. He 
is a remarkably industrious man, always either writing some- 
thing or doing something ahead of public sentiment. He is 
constantly in advance of the world, and hence the world is nearly 
out of breath trying to keep up with him, and yet when he is fully 
• comprehended he is a great deal more practical than the public 
give him credit for. He is an earnest man, an indej^endent man, 
a self-reliant man, a religious man, a progressive man, an honest 
man, a benevolent man, a kind-hearted man, a good man ; a man 
of letters, a man of literature, a man of research, a man ot thought ; 
a pioneer ; a worker; a human telegraph, throwing out scintilla- 
tions of light; a leader in civilization. He has no conce])tion of 
the value of money as personally relates to himself or to his 
family. He has several huge trunks full of good deeds, but ver)' 
few of the glittering, golden dollars. He is extremely sensitive 
as to points of honor, of true manhood, of principle ; and so he 
has toiled on over a quarter of a century among the rough ele- 
ments of life, and is now crowning the end of his career with 
building up an institution that will live long after the material 
man has been dissolved and the real man has taken his proper 
place among the beings of another sphere. 


As a speaker in the pulpit or on the rostrum, Mr. Neill is 
earnest, sincere, clear, progressive, argumentative. He appears 
to be a bundle of nerves, and when he talks to you he is con- 
stantly moving his feet just as rapidly as the intensity of his 


thoughts act upon the nerve centres, and yet in another sense he 
is not nervous, but earnest. He scorns most disdainfully any- 
thing which to him appears mean. He is thoroughl}' independent. 
He lives within himself. In person he is straight, manly, with 
an intellectual look, and yet one would take him to be a foreign 
gentleman of leisure just arrived, inspecting our institutions. His 
first church was on the corner of Fourth and Washington streets. 
His second on the corner of Third and St. Peter, part of which 
still remains, but is devoted to the purposes of trade. The old 
House of Hope, his third church, on Walnut street, has been 
converted into dwelling houses, while the new House of Hope is 
on the corner of Fourth and FLxchange streets, and is one of the 
finest church edifices in the city. Mr. Neill came to St. Paul a 
young man, being about twenty-six years of age, and for thirty- 
six years the better part of his life has been spent in doing good 
and elevating the masses. He has just passed sixty years, but is 
still acti\e, spirited, even youthful in his ways. He has written 
his good deeds indelibly upon the future history of Minnesota, 
and other generations will come to greatly esteem the name of 
Rev. Edward Duffield Neill. 


The finest specimen of a physical man in the Northwest, is 
Governor, Senator, Ex-Secretary of War, Alexander Ramsey. 
The shrewdest, sharpest, best politician in Minnesota to-day, is 
Alexander Ramsey. The man most thoroughly posted in human 
nature, is Alexander Ramsey, and the man of the most jovial, 
bluff, off-hand, friendly characteristics, is Alexander Ramsey. 
No matter whether these elements of character are affected or 
genuine, they are, as a matter of histor3% parts of the man, and 
make him, what he really is, one of the most popular of the old 
politicians and of the old settlers. 


Mr. Ramsey was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1815, 
of Scotch descent on his father's side and of German descent on 
his mother's. He was left an orphan at the age of ten years ; 
was employed as a clerk in a store at Harrisburg, and in 1828 
was engaged in the office of the Register of Deeds of Dauphin 


County ; subsequently worked at the carpenter trade, but drifted 
out of this into the study of law, and after leaving the Lafayette 
College entered several law offices and was admitted to practice 
in 1839, occupying some of his time, howe\'er, in teaching school ; 
came to St. Paul in 1849. ^^- Barnes, in his history of the 
Fortieth Congress, says : 

" During the celebrated Harrison campaign of 1840, Mr. Ramsey took a prom 
inent part, and was that fall chosen Secretary of the electoral college of the State of 
Pennsylvania. In 1S41 he was elected Chief Clerk of the House of Representa- 
tives. In 1843 he was nominated for Congress from the district composed of Dau- 
phin, Lebanon and Schuylkill Counties, and served in the Twenty-Eighth Congress 
(1843-4.) He was re-elected in 1844 a member of the Twenty-Ninth Congress, 
his term ending March 4th, 1844. During these years Mr. Ramsey became well 
known, not only in his own State, but widely among public men of the country, aii 
evincing those qualities of sagacity and firmness which have l)een so marked during 
his whole career. As chairman of the Whig State Committee in 1848, he contri- 
buted largely to the election of Gen. Zach. Taylor to the presidency. When that 
brave old soldier was inaugurated it became his duty to appoint the officers of Min 
nesota Territory, and he at once tendered the governorship to Mr. Ramsey, which 
was accepted. His commission is dated April 2d, 1849, and he immediately pro- 
ceeded to remove with his family, to his new home. And here it should be 
remarked, that Gov. Ramsey was married in 1845 to Miss Anna E. Jenks, of New- 
town, Bucks Co., Pennsylvania. 

"Gov. Ramsey arrived at the scene of his official duties on May 27, 1S49, 
and four days afterwards, with the other Territorial officers who had arrived, issued 
a proclamation declaring the Territory organized and the machinery of law in oper- 
ation. When the first Legislature met in September it bestowed on one of the first 
counties created, and at that time the most populous and wealthy, the name of Min- 
nesota's first Governor, a deserved and just compliment. 

"Gov. Ramsey took early measures to procure the extinguishment of Indian 
titles by treaty, etc.; and by negotiations made at Mendota and Traverse des Sioux, 
in 185 1, the valuable lands near Lake Pepin, and 40,000,000 acres in what now con- 
stitutes middle and southern Minnesota, and about twenty counties in Iowa, were 
thrown open to settlers. In the fall of 185 1 he made a treaty with the northern 
Chippewas for the cession by them of thirty miles on each side of the Red river, 
which was not ratified. In 1863 he made another treaty, and the whole Red river 
valley was opened up to settlement. 

"In 1853 Gov. Ramsey's term closed, and in 1855 he was elected Mayor oi 
St. Paul. In 1857, when the Republican convention met, he was nominated for 
first State Governor, but was unsuccessful in the contest. Two years later he was 
again nominated and this time elected by a majority of 3,752 in a vote of 38,918. 
At this time the State was considerably in debt, taxes difficult to collect, and many 
other troubles were to be met, but his administration was a very successful one. 
The following year the rebellion broke out, and this laid new duties and responsibil- 
ities on the Governor. One was the proper officering of the regiments from the 
State, but the very fact that a large proportion of Colonels appointed by him were 
ultimately promoted to brigadiers and several to Major Generals, while every officer 

OF ST. PAUL, MINN. ljr> 

with the exception of too few to notice, made a good record, is proof enough thai 

the selections were wisely made of men who have done honor to our State on the 


" In i86i Gov. Ramsey was re-elected. During his second term the Sioux 

outbreak occurred, adding still further to the responsibilities of the position, but 
ultimately peace and security were restored to the frontier. In January, 1863, (iov. 
Ramsey was elected United States Senator for six years, and re-elected in 1869, 
serving twelve years in all. During this period he was on several important stand- 
ing committees, postoffice and post-roads, of which for years he was chairman. 
Postal reform occupied much of his attention. He first introduced the bill for the 
repeal of the franking abuse, and pressed it to its adoption, and visited France in 
1869 to urge cheap international postage, which has since been accomplished." 

He also aided, as far as possible, the construction of the 
Northern Pacific Railroad. He was especially active in securing 
the survey and improvement of the Upper Mississippi river and 
branches by the general government. In 1880 was appointed 
Secretary of War by President Hayes, and for a short time was 
Secretary of the Navy. He labored earnestly and continually 
for the interests of the great Northwest, and his services to this 
section and to the country as a whole, will be gratefully remem- 
bered long after he has passed away. Some of the extracts from 
his messages predicting the future growth of the Territory, seem 
almost prophetic. He evinced his own faith in its future suc- 
cess by large and judicious investments in real estate, which 
ultimately have become of great value and are the bulk of a 
comfortable fortune. 

Mr. Ramsey is now one of the commissioners appointed 
by President Arthur to inquire into the affairs of Utah, and if 
possible remodel that degenerated Territory. His family origin- 
ally consisted of three children, two boys and a girl; the boys 
died in infancy, and the daughter is now married. 


The bold, Scotch-German face, pleasant smile, white hair, 
stalwart form and open, frank, free manners of Gov. Ramsey, 
make him a marked character on the street or in society. He 
has great command over his feelings, and can greet an enemy, 
especially if he has any point to gain, as cordially as his best 
friend ; indeed, in such a case, he is a good deal more cordial. 
This arises not from policy, but from a total forgetfulness of any 
political injury done him. He harbors no unkindness towards 
any one, and this is natural to the man. He has been in office 


almost uninterruptcdh- for fort}'-four years, or nearly half a cen- 
tury, and in this particular surpasses all other men in his adapta- 
tion to political life. One of the great and strong points in his 
character, is his non-committalism, especially before election. 
When called upon, however, to declare upon great state or 
national ([uestions, he never shrinks from the ordeal, and decides 
in a bluff, off-hand manner, which in early years gave him the 
name of *' Bluff Aleck." He is exceedingly cordial in his ways ; 
makes ever}'body think he is a personal friend ; avoids any 
remark which might give offense, and in case of a sudden rumpus 
you will always find him missing. When he gets into trouble, 
however, he is like a steamboat, backs out gracefully. He is a . 
man of strong, solid, common sense ; cool, collected, self-poised : 
an excellent judge of human nature, and always looks on the 
sunny side of life, no matter how dark the clouds may be which 
are hidden from human view. He is a philosopher and believes 
what is to be, will be. He is liberal in his religious views, if he 
has any, and while temperate in his habits is broad-guaged in his 
ideas of human life. Many interesting incidents of the method 
Mr. Ramsey has adopted to quietly slip through the world with 
the least possible friction, might be given, but space will not per- 
mit. One of his peculiar traits is just this: while a dozen small- 
fry politicians are fighting for the spoils, Ramsey is in the corner 
enjoying his political repast, and when the battle is over he 
smacks his lips and coolly remarks — ** Well, I can't see what all 
this fuss is about. I've had my dinner ; I'm satisfied." In a 
word, he has been eating the meat while the other dogs have 
been fighting for the bone. He has had a busy and useful life, 
and very justly can be classed as pre-eminently among the very 
first men of the Northwest. Very few politicians have lived whose 
political life is as pure as that of Alexander Ramsey, and what- 
ever faults he may have, (as all men have faults,) he will leave a 
name honored and esteemed for a long list of valuable deeds 
done, and a memory made especially green by pleasant recollec- 
tions of a genial,, kindly nature, a warm, generous manner, a 
hearty greeting, an esteemed friend, a popular citizen. 


T don't know but what I might feel as mellow and as well 
disposed toward the human race as (row Ramsey does, if I had 

OF ST. PA UL, MINX. 127 

been in office for over forty years and had piled up in the bank 
to my credit, a large amount of money accumulated from sala- 
ries ! I would like to try the experiment. These little things 
have a very decided and pleasant effect upon the disposition, and 
I feel sure that my own disposition could be very materially 
sweetened and modified by exchanging places with my esteemed 
friend — he writing Pen Pictures and I traveling in Utah — Gov. 
Newson — plain Mr. Ramsey. Give me a chance, Senator, and I 
will soon demonstrate my capacity to live and to die a mellow 
old gentleman. 


Fun is fun, but facts are facts, and the truth is, that during 
the time Governor Ramsey held a State office, his salary never 
paid him for the amount of money he expended in entertaining 
the Legislature — and the Governor says facetiously — " In the old 
days the members consumed an enormous amount of food" — 
or the many others who were subjects of his hospitality. Then, 
as Senator in Washington, he had two households to keep up, 
and courtesies to extend, so that really he had but little left of 
his salary at the end of each year. He made some real-estate 
investments in early days, and these investments have enabled 
him to live comfortably. 


Governor Ramsey has always responded liberally to every 
public enterprise which affected the growth of the city. I hav^e 
the information from a gentleman who knows, that while the 
Governor has not built immense stores, yet he has given more 
liberally than any man in the State, and many private gifts will 
never be known, because unostentatiously the act of a good 


Some years ago, succeeding the crash of 1857, when ^he 
hard times were upon us, and property was still taxed upon the 
inflated assessments of r855-6. Governor Ramsey was asked to 
recommend in his message a bill reducing the taxes upon prop- 
erty if paid for in a certain time. This bill passed the Legisla- 
ture, and many availed themselves of its prov^isions, and among 
them Governor Ramsey himself ; and this is all the reduction of 


taxes he has ever had in Ramsey County. He is a grand man, 
and is growing in public estimation as years carry him to the 
final end. 


A Judge of one of our courts, and an old settler, had a long 
beard, and in course of time the hair began to fall from his head, 
at which he was greatly annoyed, when a theoretic scientist told 
him that if he would gradually pull out all his beard it would 
cause the hair to grow back again on his head ; and after he had 
tested the matter, as he really believed the statement, a friend 
was conversing with him one day on the subject, when he said — 
" And this reminds me that some years ago an old fool, or phi- 
losopher, once told me that if I would pull out all my beard, 
hair would grow again on top of my head ; and do you know I 
was just green enough to try it!" I have discovered that old 
settlers are sometimes taken in as w^ell as young bloods, though, 
generally, young bloods know more than their fathers every 


In 1849 ^ young stripling of a boy, aged twenty-two years, 
engaged his services to Judge Knowlton to aid in running a Ter- 
ritorial road from Hudson, Wisconsin, to St. Paul. He was a 
bright lad, very self-reliant, and during the trip volunteered to do 
the cooking. One day a bird that had been shot was brought 
in, and the young man took it upon himself to *' dish it up." He 
made up a good fire ; put on the pot, picked the inviting fowl, 
smacked his lips, and informed his friends of the forthcoming 
elegant repast which he intended to spread before them. Din- 
ner time came, but the bird was not done, and an indifferent 
meal was served instead ; and so at supper, and so at breakfast, 
and so at dinner, the bird all this time undergoing a vigorous 
boiling process, when, after a lapse of two days, the Judge found 
out that his knowing young cook had been boiling and sweating 
and fretting over a wild buzzard instead of a wild turkey. 


Mr. Rice was born in Vermont in 18 16. His grandfather 
on his mother's side was taken prisoner during th*? French war 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 129 

•of 1775, at the burning of Royalton, Vt., but afterwards ran- 
somed. Young Rice attended a common scliool and an acad- 
emy, and studied law at Richmond, Vermont ; emigrated to 
Detroit, Michigan, in 1835; in 1837 he left Michigan for the 
West, and with his pack traveled on foot over two hundred 
miles. Then there were only a few white settlers, but a good 
many Indians ; the country was almost a barren wilderness 
where are now cities, and towns, and villages. Before leaving 
Michigan he was employed in the survey which finally termi- 
nated in the location of the Sault Ste. Marie canal and other 
important works under the direction of the State of Michigan ; 
•came to Fort Snellin'g, Minnesota, in 1839, and was connected 
with the sutler's department at that post ; in 1 840 was appointed 
sutler at Fort Atkinson ; became connected w^ith the house of 
Pierre Choteau, Jr., & Co., of St. Louis ; had charge of the trade 
of this house with the Chippewas and the Winnebagoes ; con- 
trolled trading posts throughout the Chippewa country and had 
great influence with the traders and Indians, from Lake Superior 
to Red lake, and from thence to the British Possessions ; in 
1846 was appointed a delegate in the place of a Winnebago 
chief, to negotiate a treaty with the United States for their reser- 
vation in Iowa, and in negotiating for another reservation Mr. 
Rice secured the sale of land, which greatly aided w^hite settle- 
ment ; in 1847, in company with Gen. Verplank, he purchased 
various lands of the Chippewas, and in 1847, same year, of the 
Pillager Indians ; and in 185 1-3 and 4, and in 1863, and at other 
times, aided in making treaties w^ith the Sioux and Chippewas, 
whereby the greater portion of the land of our State was ceded 
to the whites. In 1848 he purchased of John R. Irvine eighty 
acres of land lying between Seven Corners and St. Peter street, 
from the river back, comprising a part of Rice and Irvine's addi- 
tion to St. Paul, paying about ;^400 for it — w^orth now ^3,000,000 
— and thereby became a town site owner ; erected warehouses, 
hotels, business blocks; induced men of capital to come here ; 
gave away land for churches, schools, parks and other purposes; 
assisted Gen. Sibley in getting through Congress a bill organiz- 
ing Minnesota as a Territory ; and in hundreds of other ways 
greatly aided the material interests of our city and State. He 
was also the founder of Bayfield, Wisconsin, in 1856. In 1853 


a\Ir. Rice was elected a dele^j^ate to Congress, and was re-electodl 
in 1855. Williams, in his notice of hipi, says: 

"He procured legislation extending the pre-emption system to unsur- 
veyed lands; also opening certain military reservations to actual settlers. Land 
offices were to be established, post routes opened, and post-offices created; im- 
mense tracts to be purchased from the Indians and thrown open to settlement. 
Besides, there were countless requests from private individuals for favors to be 
secured at the departments, or for special legislation, so that one can form, 
some idea of the work Mr. Rice accomplished. Indeed, only those who lived 
in Minnesota during that period can know what it really owes to him for much 
of its material progress. 

"In 1S57 Mr. Rice procured the passage of the act endowing our first 
land grant roads, with the land which has alone secured their construction and 
resulted in the rapid development of the State. Also, establishing here a Sur- 
veyor General's office, and, more important in some respects than all, was the 
enabling act authorizing Minnesota to form a State government. Mr. Rice's- 
term as delegate, closed in 1857, l)ut he was at once elected Senator for six 
years by the first State Legislatiu-e. During this term the rebellion l^roke out 
and considerable numbers of Minnesota troops were stationed at Washington- 
Mr. Rice's kindness and liberalitv to our soldiers will long be remembered- 
His home in Washington was always open, as well as his purse, to the sick 
and destitute soldier, l^iu'ing this term he served on several \ orv important 
committees, among others, on finance, on military, on post-roads, on public- 
lands, and the special committee to report some -mode of averting the threat- 
ened rupture between the North and liic South." 

Mr. Rice's political career virtually ceased when he left the 
United States Senate, althou^^h he was elected Treasurer for 
Ramsey County for three terms, by handsome majorities, and 
he made important improvements in that office. He did not 
serve out his last term, but resif^ned on account of ill health. 
He made a popular and faithful Treasurer. 

In addition to the above Mr. Rice was the president of the 
Chamber of Commerce for several years; also member of the 
Board of Public Works, and part of the time president; president 
of the first Society for the Relief of the Poor ; president of the 
Old Settlers' Claim Association ; member of the Board of Regents 
of the State CuiNcrsit}- ; president of the Historical Society; 
director in fi\e railroad companies ; introduced the first bill and 
made the first speech in favor of the Northern Pacific Railroad, 
in 1858; was one of the four incorporators of that road allowed 
to Minnesota, and the first Democratic convention in the Terri- 
tory met at his house. 


In speaking in the United States Senate of the Northern 
Pacific route, he said : 

" It can scarcely be doubted that the great saving, both in time and cost 
of transportation, would cause not only the entire American, but the Europeati 
trade with China, Japan, and the Pacific islands, to go through by this route, 
instead of going around the Cape. 

"The country contains a larger portion of available soil than any equal 
quantity of land on the Atlantic border. North of the forty-ninth parallel of 
latitude fine crops are raised, and the wheat is of so fine a quality that it is 
eagerly sought for seed, in the United States. 

*'It is highly esteemed as a grazing country. Cattle are not housed dur- 
ing the winter, and herds are frequently driven southward five or seven hun- 
dred miles, and then disposed of at a profit." 


Among other donations which Mr. Rice has from time to 
time made to the city of St. Paul, is Rice Park, worth now 
many thousand dollars. The record also shows, that he gave to 
the St. Joseph's Hospital a little over two acres, upon which is 
now the large German Church, hospital and schools, and this 
property is worth near a million. He also presented Rice 
County, named after him, with a splendid library of political and 
historical works relating to the government from its foundation 
up, and valued at several thousand dollars. Many other dona- 
tions of money and of land have been made by Mr. Rice, for 
churches, schools, public improvements, &c., &c., so that he can 
very justly be placed among the most liberal of benefactors to 
the growth of St. Paul and Minnesota. 

Mr. Rice was married to Miss Matilda Whitall, at Rich- 
mond, Va., March 29th, 1849; and when Senator his house at 
Washington was the centre of attraction for the best society. 


Of the many men who have acted conspicuously in the past 
history of our city and State, Mr. Rice was not only the first to 
come to St. Paul to reside permanently, in the early part of 1 849, 
but is pre-eminently the one most entitled to the thanks of the 
people for the indefatigable efforts he has always made to advance 
our material interests. He not only invested his own money 
here but he induced his southern friends and others to secure 
interests in the coming great city, and by various means per- 
suaded capitalists to come in and take possession of the " goodly 
land," and they came. 



Mr. Rice had made his quarters for some time at Mendota, 
when, in the winter of 1848 and the spring of 1849, he com- 
menced erecting hotels, warehouses, etc., in St. Paul, and in 
June of the latter year he and his family embarked in a birch - 
bark canoe and floated down to this city, where he made it his 
home and where he has resided ever since. 

About thirty-six years ago Mr. Rice purchased one-third of 
Dayton & Irvine's Addition for ^1.50 per acre; now worth from 
;$20,ooo to $30,000 per acre ; one hundred and twenty acres 
known as Woodland Park, for $33 per acre; now worth from 
;^i 5,000 to $20,000 per acre; twenty acres in Breckenridge & 
Magoffin's Addition for ^90 for the whole twenty acres; now 
worth from $75,000 to $100,000; several hundred acres on the 
Fort road for $10 per acre ; now w^orth from $10,000 to $15,000 
per acre ; fort}^ acres where the Omaha shops now stand, for 
$1.25 per acre ; now worth — the forty acres — $100,000. These 
are only a few of the many real estate transactions Mr. Rice has 
had while a resident of this city. 

a great promoter. 

He encouraged stage-coaches, hotels, steamboats, railroads, 
churches, parks, business enterprises ; in fact anything that w^ould 
tend to the growth of St. Paul and Minnesota. He not only 
did this, but he improved the property he owned and aided oth- 
ers to do so. He gave generously of his lands and of his means 
to every public enterprise, and one can scarcely turn a corner 
and not find some donation of this liberal-hearted man. He came 
to Fort Snelling forty-six years ago ; to St. Paul thirty-six years 
ago, and during all these years he has manifested a lively interest 
in the growth of both the city and the State. He erected the 
second brick house in the city and State, which stood on the 
corner of Third and Washington streets, (^now on site of the 
Metropolitan hotel ;) secured himself a homestead in the shape 
of a fine brick residence, the first house on Summit avenue, on a 
claim of one hundred and twenty acres which he called his farm, 
and what is somewhat singular is the fact, that the land upon 
which his house used to stand is now the property of his son-in- 
law, Maurice Auerbach, P.sq. These one hundred and twenty 

OF ST. PAUL, MINN. i:^3 

acres, at a valuation of only ^3,000 per acre, would no^\ be worth 
3360,000; cost Mr. Rice ;^33 per acre, or about 34,000. Later 
still, he built another house on the avenue overlooking the city, 
and here he resided until about two years ago, when he erected 
a residence nearly opposite where he now lives. 


Many distinguished men have gathered in the parlors of 
Mr. Rice's old residence, and could the ancient walls have spoken 
before they were taken down, they could have told of many in- 
teresting schemes, political and otherwise. But the old and 
favorite homestead has gone. Many of those who once crossed 
its threshold so eagerly, have also gone. The play-ground of 
the little girls (now mothers,) is gone. The sweet twilight of a 
summer's eve, as it lingered on a beautiful landscape of hill, and 
dale, and river, and city, is gone. Slight threads of gray are 
sprinkled amid the once black locks of youth and beauty, and 
the longing heart reaches out into the past and gropes for scenes 
that will never come again. Gone is the singing of the birds and 
the laughter of childhood. The fond, cherished dream of a 
hallowed old age has disappeared in the mists of the morning ; 
but the roar of the city is still the same, only louder ; the tread 
of feet is still the same, only more solid ; the hum of life is still 
the same, only greater ; and the burdens of the day are still the 
same, only more of them, and heavier. And so the old things 
of the past give way to the new, and the scenes of a busy life, 
** like specters grim and tall," walk through the corridors of 
memory and startle us with the onward march of time. 


In 1855 the writer earnestly espoused the cause of William 
R. Marshall, who was then running on the Republican ticket as 
a delegate for Congress against H. M. Rice, regular Democrat, 
and David Olmsted, anti-Nebraska Democrat. It w^as under- 
stood by the Olmsted party, headed by Gov. Willis A. Gorman, 
now dead, that in case it should appear that Olmsted had no 
show of an election he would throw his forces for Marshall, 
which would have secured his election, as Olmsted wished to 


defeat Rice, but at the last minute Gorman opposed this move- 
ment ; Olmsted remained in the field, Marshall was defeated 
and Rice elected. 

Ten years after Mr. Rice had beaten Mr. Marshall for del- 
egate for Congress, he ran for Governor against Marshall, and 
Marshall beat Rice by 3,476 votes, thus turning the tables, Mar- 
shall going into power and Rice going out. 

At that time, in 1855, I had never seen Mr. Rice, but learn- 
ing from the then Executive of the State that Mr. Rice had been 
instrumental in removing the Winnebago Indians from Long 
Prairie to Mankato, and that it was an unpopular theme at the 
latter place, when I spoke there in defense of Marshall and against 
Rice, I charged Rice with the act. At the conclusion of my 
speech a quietly-spoken gentleman in the audience arose and 
said — " The speaker was a good talker — had said a good deal, 
and many interesting things, but that he had told more lies in a 
given length of time than any man he had ever heard," alluding 
more particularly to my charge against Mr. Rice. It proved 
to be P. K. Johnson, and on investigation I found that I had 
been actually lying on the authority of the Governor of the Ter- 
ritory of Minnesota, who, no doubt, had himself been misinformed, 
and that Johnson was right. I immediately wrote to Mr. Rice 
disclaiming any intention to do him a wrong, and this opened a 
friendship which has existed ever since. 

"you shan't speak here." 

During the same campaign I made arrangements to address 
a meeting at Manomin, or Rice Creek, in favor of Marshall, and I 
had the assurance, or my agent had, of the hotel proprietor. Col. 
John Banfill, that I should be heard ; so I rode night and day in 
a buggy to keep m\' appointment, but when the time came to 
speak I was told that inasmuch as I was attacking Mr. Rice, 
that I should not speak in the hotel; and so, thus refused, I 
repaired to a saloon near by, whose doors were thrown open, 
and addressed quite a crowd of red-shirted lumbermen, who 
treated me with the greatest consideration, notwithstanding I did 
pummel Mr. Rice to the best of my ability, lea\ ing out, how- 
ever, the charge made at Mankato, about the Indians. The 
owner of the hotel was a personal friend of Mr. Rice, and would 

OF ST. PA UL, MLNN. 135 

not listen to anything derogatory to him, even of a political 
nature. As the landlord refused to let me speak in his house, so 
I refused to put up with him, and at night, and dark, my agent 
and myself crossed on the ferry to the west side of the river and 
made for a farm-house which we found empty, spent the night 
.as best we could, and the next day both our horse and ourselves 
made a dinner out of raw corn which was plucked from the field. 
Then farm-houses were three and four miles apart ; now this 
whole section of country is thickly settled with farms and even 
flourishing towns, and good hotels can be found in every direc- 


In the winter of i860 and 1861 the writer spent several 
weeks in Washington just at the time when the feeling between 
the two sections of the country was at its highest ; when south- 
ern members of Congress were seething with rage ; when civil 
war was imminent ; when northern men were trying to prevent 
• disunion; when the guns of the South were turned on Fort 
Sumpter; when Wigfall, and Slidell, and Mason, and other 
Southern members were threatening to leave the Congress of 
the United States ; when the whole of Washington society was 
heaving with excitement; when Jo. Lane had just delivered his 
speech in favor of the South, and Andrew Johnson had been 
announced to reply to him; when both houses were crowd- 
ed with anxious and excited spectators waiting for Johnson's 
speech ; when, just at this time, I strolled into the Senate chamber 
.and took my seat in the gallery. Johnson was speaking in 
defense of the Union, and at the close of his speech thunders of 
.applause greeted his sentiments, and of course the galleries were 
cleared. Partaking of the excitement of the moment, I rushed 
down stairs and sent my card to Morton S. Wilkinson, our 
Republican Senator, whom I had materially aided in electing to 
Congress, but he was too busy with great national affairs to give 
me any attention, so I skipped around to the other door and sent 
my compliments to Mr. Rice, our Democratic Senator, who 
immediately appeared, and invited me into the cloak room of the 
Senate. " But the rules, Mr. Rice — "said the doorkeeper. " Never 
mind the rules," said Mr. Rice, " I'll be responsible," and in a 


minute more I stood in the presence of .Vndrew Johnson^ 
Stephen A. Douglas and Jo. Lane. This is a Httle thing of itself^ 
but it only shows the character of the man. 


It will be remembered by my readers, that in 1861, just be- 
fore the outbreak of the rebellion, $875,000 of certain bonds held 
by the government in trust for the Indian tribes, had been ab- 
stracted from the safe of the Secretary of the Interior, and at the 
time of the discovery intense excitement followed. It seems that 
a clerk by the name of Bailey, under Thompson, transferred tO' 
a man by the name of Russell, as security only, these bonds,, 
but Russell sold them, the knowledge of which coming to Mr. 
Rice, he questioned Mr. Bailey, who was Secretary Thompson's 
confidential clerk and financial agent for the Indian trust bonds,, 
amounting in all to three million dollars. Bailey acknowledged 
that he had given to Russell, of the firm of Russell, Majors & 
Wardell, nearly a million of the Indian trust bonds for the same 
amount of Secretary Floyd's acceptances as Secretary of War. 
These illegal acceptances coming due, and no funds being in the- 
War Department to meet them, rendered the sale of the bonds,, 
held by other parties, a necessity. There being no escape from 
exposure, Bailey prepared a statement of the transaction, and 
with the papers, handed the same to Mr. Rice, requesting him 
to deliver them to Secretary Thompson on his return, he be- 
ing then absent in North Carolina. Mr. Rice told Mr. Baile>' 
that he could not keep them in his possession a moment longer 
than it would take him to reach the White House, where he at 
once went and laid the documents before the President of the 
United States, James Buchanan, who, on discovering the theft, 
remarked — " Well, Mr. Rice, secession is bad enough, but this is- 
worse." Mr. Rice was the first person who disco\ered the fraud- 
ulent abstraction of these bonds, and Thompson, who returned 
unexpectedly that evening, fearing that other bonds to the amount 
of $3,000,000 had also been stolen, Mr. Rice, with Bailey and 
others, examined the archi\'es in the Interior Department, but 
found them all safe. A conmiittee of the House was appointed 
to investigate the matter, who, in concluding their report, say: 

" Your committee were satisfied that Mr. Rice labored with energy and 
zeal to aid the government, and is entitled to the thanks of the House and the 



A brick row of three houses situated on a pleasant street in 
Washington, was designated as " Minnesota Row," having been 
erected jointly by Messrs. Rice, Douglas and Breckenridge. Mr. 
Douglas lived in one of the end houses, and Mr. Rice in the 
middle. When the war broke out the row was appropriated by 
the government as a hospital ; subsequently one of the houses 
was purchased by General Grant and another by General Sher- 
man. It was here that Mr. Rice showed his greatest power ; 
here he received all classes of people of all parties, dispensed 
generous hospitality and treated them kindly ; here he sought to 
conciliate conflicting political views, and here he quietly yet 
earnestly labored for the preservation of the Union. 

No man had greater power with all the Departments at 
Washington, than had Mr. Rice. Everywhere he was received 
with great consideration, and during his official position he 
accomplished wonderful results for the good of our city and our 
State. History is history ; facts are facts ; right is right. Very 
few men in Washington were more highly respected or more 
courteously received by men of all parties before the war, than 
Hon. H. M. Rice. 


Any Individual who can go from the extreme frontier of our 
country, leaving savage surroundings, and enter directly into the 
Senate of the United States, and command the respect and even 
admiration of men of culture and letters, and who, then, can 
return from the Capital of the nation and command the confi- 
dence and respect of our Indian tribes, as Mr. Rice could and 
can, and did do, is a somewhat remarkable character, to say 
nothing of the mental qualities which permitted him to cope with 
the best men of the nation. Tall and slender, with a fine head 
upon his shoulders, and commanding presence, Mr. Rice wins 
friends by his exceedingly courteous manner. He has a swaying 
motion when he walks ; is dignified, pleasing, cautious ; some- 
what retiring in his nature ; a fine conversationalist ; adverse to 
publicity ; a lover of home, and an honorable, upright, manly 
citizen. He partakes largely of the affability accorded to his 
contemporary, Gov. Ramsey, but is more polished in his manner 


of showing it. It would be difficult to find two men so well 
adapted to public life, as H. M. Rice and Alexander Ramsey, 
and especially so as men who have won public regard by their 
hearty greetings and politeness. Mr. Rice ranks am^ng the most 
notable and able men of the Northwest, and his own acts bespeak 
his best praise. History will write his name high up on the scroll 
of honor, and Minnesota can never afford to forget either him 
or his worthy deeds. 


This is the outcome of Mr. Rice's generosity. For years 
after the native trees had been cut off it, it presented a barren and 
forsaken look. A florist by the name of Hanson finally got per- 
mission of the city to put his green-house there for several years 
in consideration of his planting trees and making them grow, and 
the result of that wise measure is the present little green oasis, 
which, under the guidance of a master hand in nature's adorn- 
ments, has made it the admiration of all. 


In 1854 I met Mrs. Ramsey for the first time — a tall, well- 
formed, queenly-looking woman ; conmianding in her manners, 
yet gentle and loving in her nature. She had been married only 
four years when the Governor and herself took up their abode in 
the crude gubernatorial residence on lower Third street, St. Paul, 
and one can imagine the cares and deprivations of her early pio- 
neer life and the immense tax upon her disposition to maintain 
her equilibrium amid the trying scenes of those early days ; and 
yet she was equal to the emergency. Throughout a quarter of a 
century she not only greatly aided by her diplomacy her husband 
in his political career, but has maintained the regard and esteem 
of the public for her many private excellencies. The autumnal 
tint of years onl)- adds to her graces, while in the social circle 
she still maintains her supremacy, as she always has. Mrs. Ram- 
sey was born in Newton, Pennsylvania, in 1827 ; came to St. Paul 
in 1849; died November 29, 1884, aged fifty-eight years. 


A bright, beautiful countenance, with black hair and black 
eyes, as I remember her in early da)'s, Mrs. Rice united the 

OF iST. PA UL, MINN. 139 

characteristics of a southern beauty with northern tact. Most of 
her married years have been spent amid the scenes of her hus- 
band's pohtical battles, and she herself has figured in the gay 
society of Washington life. Indeed, she has been an important 
factor in the power behind the throne, and though quiet and 
undemonstrative her power has been none the less effective. The 
early cares of years already gone, onh^ create a subdued mellow- 
ness which adds to the charms of a gentle, loving woman. 


This event took place in the city of St. Paul on the 2d of 
August, 1849. The officers were Chief Justice Aaron Goodrich, 
Judge Meeker, Judge Cooper, and James K. Humphrey, Clerk. 
It was a motley grouping of diversified humanity, antagonistic in 
their peculiar characteristics, yet in the whole make-up able and 
judicial. Here was Judge Goodrich with his angularity, story- 
telling propensities, and positiveness of character ; here was 
Meeker with his slow, plodding, gross materiality ; here Cooper 
with his ruffled shirt bosom, and his precise, nice, punctilious 
methods ; Humphrey with his cautious, careful, measured air ; 
and thus the Court opened with twenty lawyers in attendance and 
only one juryman with a pair of boots. Chief Justice Goodrich 
was assisted by Cooper, and although he occasionally shocked 
the delicate nerves of Cooper by a funny story, yet the proceed- 
mgs were conducted with due decorum and dignity. This was 
the first District Court, and the term lasted six davs. The second 
District Court was held by Judge Meeker on the west banks of 
the Mississippi, opposite the Falls of St. Anthony. The third 
District Court was held at Mendota, Judge Cooper presiding. 
Only three of the jurymen could understand the charge of the 
Judge, among whom was Gen. Sibley, foreman, all the rest being 
French. And thus were set in motion the wheels of the great 
law car which has been moving forward with great velocity evei 


In the latter part of 1849 St. Paul had five ministers, four- 
teen lawyers, two land agents, five doctors, sixteen merchants, 
three tailors, one shoemaker, or sole-saver, five hotels, two paint- 


ers, four blacksmiths, four masons, sixteen carpenters, five bak- 
ers, one silversmith, one gunsmith, etc., etc., beside a numerous 
retinue of half-breeds and Indians. The trade that year was 
;^ 1 31,000. The trade of 1885, wholesale and retail, will reach 
near 3100,000,000! This tells the story of St. Paul's growth 
better than anything else can. 

The first exclusive hardware store in the city, was estab- 
lished in 1849 by John McCloud & Brothers, and the building 
which they built is still standing, on the corner of Third and 
Cedar streets, now occupied as a dry-goods store. Mr. John 
McCloud, I believ'e, is at Bayfield, and one of his brothers, Joe, 
after trying farming in Dakota, returned to Philadelphia, from 
whence the McClouds originally came. They were small, active, 
honest men, but the population at that early day would not sus- 
tain their trade, and since then the wave of immigration has 
washed them almost out of memory. And so goes the world ; 
one is up while the other is down. Teeter-taunter, teeter-taunter, 
teeter-taunter ! 

The first furniture store in 1849 stood on the corner of Third 
and Minnesota streets, known as the Stees old stand, kept by a 
man by the name of J. W. Frost. He used to make pine furni- 
ture and repair otjier articles of household use. He sold out to 
Washington Stees in 1850, and from that small beginning has 
grown the large furniture establishment which has recently passed 
out of the old proprietors' hands into that of a new firm. 


Dayton's Bluff derives its name from this gentleman, to 
whom I have previously alluded, and who was born in Connec- 
ticut in 1 8 10. He was of English descent, and when a boy 
clerked in a dry-goods house and subsequently went into busi- 
ness for himself in Providence, Rhode Island. From 1840 to 
1849 he did a large trade in New York, when, in consequence 
of ill-health, he retired from active labor and that year came to 
St. Paul, where he commenced purchasing real estate, and did 
not stop until he had secured some 5,000 acres. A large num- 
ber of these acres are now within the city limits, and while they 
cost Mr. Dayton originally ;$4,ooo, they are now worth 34,000,- 
000, as the property lies in a central and valuable portion of St. 


Paul. Mr. Dayton founded the town at the junction of the Crow- 
river and the Mississippi, which bears his name, and where his 
widow now Hves. He was the proprietor and the first president 
of the Lake Superior and Mississippi Raihvay Company, and 
continued so until his death, and gave a great deal of his time 
and i^ 1 0,000 in money to promote its interests. He never asked 
or received any salary. He married Miss Maria Bates, and died 
in 1865 aged fifty-five years. His widow still survives him. 

He was a good-sized, pussy man, full of activity, and had 
unbounded faith in the growth of St. Paul. He possessed great 
energy ; was kind-hearted ; liberal ; public-spirited, and had he 
lived and held on to his property, his real estate would have 
made him immensely rich. 


His only son, used to keep a real estate office in a 
small wooden building where IngersoU's block now stands. 
Later, and after the death of his father, he devoted his 
time almost exclusively to the estate, although he was educated 
a lawyer and is a gentleman of a good deal of intelligence and 
sharp business tact. Latterly he has been investing in. Dakota, 
and bids fair to be a very rich man. He is ab -ut 50 years of age 
and came to St. Paul in 1849, 


A man by the name of Young has the honor of issuing the 
first bank bills, signed by a confederate by the name of Sawyer. 
They read — " Bank of St. Croix, St. Paul, Minnesota." These 
bills were quoted in Wall street at one per cent, discount, and of 
course were a fraud. Young disappeared and the affair col- 

The first Masonic lodge was instituted in 1849, ^^^ the first 

Mason made in the Territory that year was a man by the name 
of Scott. 

This year also witnessed the organization of the Odd Fel- 
lows and the Sons of Temperance. Indeed, I may say that 1849 
was a "boss year" for Minnesota. 


Up to November, 1849, St. Paul was legally nothing but a 
" place." This year the Legislature passed a bill, which was 


approved by the Gov^ernor, making the '* place " the " Town of St. 
Paul." Ramsey County was created, and St. Paul was made the 
county seat. Provisions were effected for the appointment of 
officers, and the residents of the Httle hamlet became as proud 
as the citizens of any big town could be, over the prospective 
growth and greatness of " our city." And from that day to this 
St. Paul has been stretching, growing, spreading out, until she 
has reached the magnificent proportions of 120,000 people! 
Truly, *' great oaks from little acorns grow." 


Dr. Potts was born in Philadelphia in 18 10; graduated at 
the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania in 
1831 ; resided at Natchez, Mississippi, ten years; in 1841 re- 
moved to Galena, Illinois; came to St. Paul in 1849, where he 
practiced medicine for twenty-six years ; was at one time Con- 
tract Surgeon at Fort Snelling ; Pension Surgeon, Medical Pur- 
veyor of the District, physician to the Sioux, etc.; in 1850 was 
president of the Town Board; in 1866 City Physician; Health 
Officer in 1873 ; was married at Fort Snelling in 1847, to Miss 
Abbey Steele ; died suddenly in the city of St. Paul, October^ 
1 874, aged sixty-four years. 


Dr. Potts was an ** institution " of the city, having practiced 
here for over a quarter of a century, and was well known among 
all the old settlers. He was a decided allopath ; believed in 
heavy doses, and ridiculed the efficacy o^ small pills. At the 
time of his death he was the oldest practicing physician in St. 
Paul. He was a man of strong predilictions ; full of fun and 
humor; social in his nature and kind-hearted in his practice. 
He resided for many years in a small white house on Robert 
street, and though having a large practice and a number of offices, 
yet he had only a slight appreciation of money, and left but little 
property to his widow, who is still living and residing in the 
family of Gen. Sibley. Ovxq looking upon her tall and graceful 
form and pleasant countenance, though saddened by care and 
sorrow, is forcibly reminded of the old, old times which have gone, 
never to return. 



Among the ancient and original characters of the past is 
Charles Conway, an old editor and an old printer, and a man of 
considerable ability. He was born in Indiana in 1822 ; remo\ed 
to Michigan in 1831 ; to Illinois in 1837, where he attended the 
University at Battle Creek and also at Rockford in 1838. He 
began his apprenticeship at the printing trade in Detroit; in 1844 
started and edited the Rockford Fonitn ; sold out and returned 
to Madison, Wisconsin, and in the fall of 1846 enlisted in the 
Mexican war, where he remained nearly two years ; returned 
again to Madison in 1848, and purchased wdiat is now the pres- 
ent Democrat; ran it about one year and then sold out; married 
Miss Jane E. Nichols, and in 1849 nioved to St. Paul; was the 
first foreman of James M. Goodhue, of the Piojieer, and Superin- 
tendent of Public Printing, and in 1850 formed a copartnership — 
Lambert, Conway & Nichols — to carry on the real estate busi- 
ness ; in 1 85 1 the firm dissolved by the death of Nichols, and 
Conway left for California, where he started the Los Angeles 
News, which he ran six years during the rebellion ; sold out and 
returned to St. Paul in 1867, and in 1869 went to Rochester, 
Minnesota, and founded the Central Record and took an active 
part against the ^5,000,000 railroad bonds; left the paper and 
went on a farm ; removed to La Crosse to give his children an 
education, and from thence removed to Dresbach, Minnesota, 
where he now resides. 


He once owned 200 acres on Goose lake, adjoining White 
Bear, for which he paid $\,2^ per acre, or ;^25o; worth now 
;^6o,ooo. His house and office formerly stood on Third street, 
near Cedar, and the eighty feet, which cost him then 3250, are 
now worth close to ;$8o,ooo. Lots in Patterson's addition which 
he sold for 325 and $30 per lot, are now worth ^$4,000 per lot. 
He owned ten acres just north of the Manitoba shops, for which 
he paid ^10 per acre, and sold for ^25 per acre; now worth 
;^2,ooo per acre. 

He is a slender gentleman ; deliberate in his speech ; comi- 
cal and original in his expressions, but disconnected in his con- 
versation. Having seen a good deal of human nature, he hasn't 


much confidence in that commodity. He knows how to make 
money, but he can't get it, because he won't he and steal. He 
has an inventive turn of mind, and if he could only " hitch 
up " with some supremely selfish specimen of humanity, Con- 
way might be a rich man. As it is, he is a quiet, pleasant, hon- 
est, clever gentleman, whose reward, if he gets any, will be in 
another world, not this. 


The subject of this sketch has been in the past and is to-day a 
character — an individualization — a positiveness — an originality — 
markedly different from other men in this particular, that he ex- 
presses his own sentiments in his own way, and is always ready 
and willing and able to ciefend them. He was born in Sempro- 
nius, Cayuga County, New York, in 1807; practiced law in Ten- 
nessee ; was elected as a Whig to the House of Representives of 
that State, in which capacity he served to the satisfaction of his 
constituents ; was a Presidential elector on the whig ticket in 
1848 ; was appointed by President Taylor in March, 1849, Chief 
Justice of Minnesota, and took up his residence in St. Paul that 
year ; presided at the first term of the Supreme Court in the Ter- 
ritory ; held the first District Court at Stillwater, Sauk Rapids 
and St. Paul ; was a corporate member of the Historical Society ; 
a charter member of the first Masonic lodge ; a corporate mem- 
ber of the Grand Lodge of the State; drew up the first Repub- 
lican platform adopted in this State ; prepared a code of pleadings 
and practice ; was a member of the Republican National Con- 
vention at Chicago ; labored to secure the nomination of Seward 
for President ; was appointed Secretary of Legation to Brussels, 
which position he held eight years ; returned to St. Paul in 
1869; wrote a book entitled "A history of the character and 
achievements of the so-called Christopher Columbus;" arguing 
that the name and pretended achievements of that individual 
were mythical ; married a Miss Paris ; was a member of the Cin- 
cinnati convention which nominated Horace Greeley, in which 
body he cast his vote for Judge Davis, of Illinois. Judge Good- 
rich was not pleased with the action of that convention. He was 
one of the original movers in the organization of the " Old Set- 
tlers' Association" in 1858; has been its secretary nearly ever 

(fF iST. PALL, MIXN. 145 

since. Of late the Judge has devoted his leisure moments to re- 
vising his book, reading, studying, digging into the rubbish of 
the past. He was a great admirer of Wm. H. Seward, and tried 
very hard to make him President. In a speech introducing Sew- 
ard to a St. Paul audience, the Judge gave utterance to senti- 
ments highly complimentary to his friend, who greatly appreciated 


Judge Goodrich is a tall, spare man, with an exceedingly 
active brain ; speaks quickly and decidedly ; talks right at you 
with an earnestness born of a conviction that he is right, while 
his eyes dilate, as they move rapidly in their sockets, and his 
voice becomes louder as he proceeds with his reasons for his 
opinion, which he proposes you shall not misunderstand. He is 
a walking encyclopedia of ancient and biblical history ; an arse- 
nal of fun and fact ; a magazine full of argumentative missiles ; 
a volcanic explosion in the midst of the religious element, and a 
generally accepted electric battery, from which a thousand posi- 
tive forces penetrate the citadels of bigotry and ignorance. 
There is but one Judge Goodrich. John Randolph is dead ; 
Goodrich still lives. No man in the State has such a striking 
individuality as Goodrich, and no man is more generally correct 
in his conclusions than Goodrich. He is eminently indepen- 
dent ; never trims or uses policy, and though his utterances are 
sometimes unpalatable, yet they command attention by their 
originality. He made a good, sound judge, though he would, 
occasionally, interpret the law sandwiched with a funny story ; is 
an effective political speaker on the stump ; an excellent writer^ 
as his book shows ; a good lawyer ; a scholar among the pyra- 
mids ; a hater of cant, hypocrisy and meanness ; a lover of honest 
thought and honest expression. With all his idiosyncrasies he 
has a kind heart, is esteemed by his former associates, and though 
not now in active public life, yet is very kindly remembered by 
the *' old guard who continue to hold the fort." The Judge is 
now in his seventy-ninth year, yet he is still active, and as ready 
for an argument or a story, as he was twenty years ago. 

The following is a good illustration of the character of the 
man, which appeared in one of our daily papers : 

146 PEN PICTlliES 

"The other day an acquaintance approached the Judge with the remark, 
'Judge, if you were made supremo ruler of the universe, what would you do?' 
'I'd resign immediately, I would, by gad, sir; I'm not hankering after any 
more responsibility than I am compelled to bear.'" 


Mr. Masterson was a peculiar citizen, somewhat different 
from ordinary men in this particular, that he spent a life-time 
in helpinj^ others and getting little or nothing in return. While 
he may have had an appreciation of money, yet he had no ca- 
pacity to accumulate it. He was born in New York in 1824; 
studied law ; came to St. Paul in 1849 with now Judge Orlanda 
Simons. Both these men were carpenters by trade, and before 
arri\'ing in St. Paul made a solemn vow to stand or fall together,, 
and though not related, the)' were closely bound to each other 
by the strongest ties of friendship. They came from New York to- 
Chicago by water, and hired a farmer to transport their baggage 
to the Mississippi river, it being stipulated " that when the walking 
was good they might ride ; when it was bad they must walk." On 
arriving at St. Paul, Judge Simons went to work as a carpenter, 
\\-hile Masterson entered a saw mill at St. Anthony Falls, but 
soon after Simons was tendered a situation by the government 
to aid in building a fort on the frontier, but he would not accept 
the offer unless Masterson was also employed. Masterson was 
soon engaged, and the two spent the summer and the fall on the 
frontier, returning on the cdy;;c of winter with plenty of money,, 
and then opening the law office of Masterson & Sinu)ns, which 
continued in this city for over twenty-five years. 

as a man. 

Masterson was a tall, robust-looking man, and was good for 
twenty years had he not been overtaken by the terrible accident 
which ended his career. He was social in his nature ; full of 
reminiscences of the past, and a devoted friend. He was a pro- 
found lawyer, delvnng deeper into the law than others, and in one 
instance forcing the Supreme Court to rc\ersc its own decision 
against hinL During all the time he li\'cd in St. Paul he nev^er 
held an office ; always gave way to some one else ; so he spent 
his life giving to others ; seemed to live for others more than for 
himself, and thus he continued until the da}' of his death. 



I often saw him wandering about the city, and once found 
him musing upon the bridge, and as in imagination I now see him 
standing upon that structure, the touching hnes of Longfellow 
come before me in all their beauty and their vividness : 

'* I stood on the bridge at midnight, 

As the clocks were striking the hour, 
And tlie moon rose o'er the city, 
Behind the dark church tower. 
i^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 

•• And like these waters rushing 
Among the wooden piers, 
A flood of thoughts came o'er me 
That tilled my e3'es with tears. 

*' How often, oh, how often, 

In the days that had gone by, 
I stood on the bridge at midnight. 
And gazed on that wave and sky. 

" How often, oh, how often, 

I had wished that the ebbing tide 
Would bear me away on its bosom. 
O'er the ocean wild and wide : 

" For my heart was hot and restless, 
And my life was full of care, 
And the burden laid upon me 

Seemed greater than I could bear." 

Then with the revulsion of feeling came the philosophical 
strain : — 

*• But now it has fallen from me, 
It is buried in the sea; 
And only the sorrow of others 
Throws its shadows over me. 

•' Yet whenever I cross the river, 

With its bridge with wooden piers. 

Like the odor of brine from the ocean, 

Comes the thought of other years ; 

"And I think how many thousands 
Of care-encumbered men, 
Each bearing his ])urclen of sorrow, 
Have crossed the bridge since then." 

He was uncompromising in the interests of his clients ; was 
timid in charging or collecting his own fees ; was weak in the 
defense of himself; was a close student among the " musty vol- 


umes " in search of precedents ; was exceeding!}' fond of music ; 
was charitable ; defended others when it was unpopular to do so ; 
never spoke ill of a single person ; had no business faculty ; never 
disputed a bill ; always paid when he had money. Elated with 
the idea of a $500 fee, he pondered over the case he had in hand, 
and while walking on the railroad track in a fit of abstraction, 
was struck by the huge engine and received injuries from which 
he died. Just before the great change took place, Judge Simons, 
his old friend, sat at his bedside with his hand clasped in his, thus 
fulfilling the mutual vow the friends had taken years before. 
George J. Flint, Esq., who was in the same office with Mr. Mas- 
terson for several years, writes : 

"I was the last business man he spoke to before he received tlie injury 
which caused Iiis deatli. He was more cheerful than I had seen him in a long 
time because of his brightening prospects. I was with him at his death and 
trulv mourned him as a good man gone." 

And thus — poor Masterson ! " Life's fitful fever o'er, he 
sleeps well.'.' 


Judge Simons was born in New York State in 1824; was 

educated at the Elmira and Chester Academies ; read law, and in 

1849, with Masterson, came to St. Paul; in 1850 was chosen 

justice of the peace ; in 1 854 was elected the first City Justice ; in 

1875 was appointed Associated Judge of the Common Pleas 

Court of Ramsey County, and in 1875 was elected for seven 


Judge Simons acts promptly, decides promptly, moves 

promptly, though with long, measured strides, and talks promptly. 
He possesses a good, judicial mind, and is fearless in the dis- 
charge of his duty. He lives within himself. Has no faculty to 
make money ; mixes but little in society ; gets down to the bot- 
tom of any question, and his decisions are very generally acqui- 
esced in as correct. When a City Justice he made the "fur fly," 
but now as a Judge he is cool, dignified, courteous. His connec- 
tion with Mr. Masterson is set forth in the article on that gentle- 
man, and this completes the Pen Picture of one of the oldest 
law firms in the city. I may add that if Judge Simons had tried 
the accused young man for murder in Cincinnati, he would have 
been convicted, and that terrible mob would have been averted. 

OF ST. PA UL, 3fINN. 149 


If Judge Goodrich is a character, as he surely is, W. P. Mur- 
ray is another, only cast in a different mould. From the time he 
came to the Territory, inaugurating his advent here by boiling for 
dinner a tough buzzard two days for a wild turkey, up to the pres- 
ent time, he has been a character, moving in various phases of 
life, but always coming to the top. 

He was born in Ohio in 1827; attended the law school of 
Indiana University ; studied law and graduated in 1 849 ; came 
to St. Paul in December of that year, and now ranks among the 
oldest members of the bar. He was a member of the Territorial 
House of Representatives in 1852 and 1853; of the Council in 
1854 and 1855; President of the House in 1857; President of 
the Constitutional Convention the same year ; member of the 
House in 1863; Senate in 1866 and 1867; House in 1868; Sen- 
ate in 1875 and 1876; making eleven sessions in all as a member 
of the Legislature. He was also a County Commissioner and a 
member of the City Council for a good many years, and is now 
and has been for a long time City Attorney. Murray County is 
named after him. If Murray and Ramsey were pitted against 
each other, it would be hard to say who would get the most 
meat from the political bone. I would not like to bet on either, 
but as Murray is an Ohio man I would prefer the odds on him. 

as I SEE HIM. 

Mr, Murray is a well-proportioned man, w^ith a good deal of 
a twinkle in his eye ; and now that the gray is mingling with the 
black, he is really a fine looking gentleman. He is " quick as 
lightning ; " generally in good humor ; always ready with a story ; 
moves about with great celerity; rubs his hand up over his fore- 
head and through his gray hair ; slaps you on the back ; gives a 
hearty laugh, and is off " in a jiffy." In early days it was '* Bill 
Murray," because he carried the boys with him ; to-day it is Hon. 
Wm. P. Murray because the dignity of the city rests upon his 
shoulders. His mind grasps a subject very quickly, and his 
insight and penetration into human nature are very keen. The 
Irish blood in his veins makes him quick to retort, while his 
political sagacity leads him to act very sly — *' d d sly, sir," — 


and yet he is popular among the masses and plays upon the 
human heart as a musician does on the keys of a piano. Peri- 
cles, the great Athenian orator, convinced a crowd that his client 
threw his antagonist when the reverse was the fact. So \\\\\\ 
Murray. His affected sincerity is convincing, and he wins his 
case, though he may heartily laugh over it afterwards. And yet 
he has been a useful man to the public at large, and has filled a 
great many offices of honor and of trust. He is a good lawyer, 
a good talker, a good speaker, a good citizen ; full of energy ; full 
of fun ; a regular bunch of fire-crackers among his friends ; 
s)'mpathetic. a real friend of the poor, kind-hearted, plain, blunt, 
smiling ''Bill Murray." 


Mr. Humphrey was born in Ohio about 1832 ; educated at 
the Western Reserve College ; read law with Gen. Dwight Jarvis ; 
was admitted to the bar in 1846; studied medicine with Dr. 
George Ashmun in 1847 ^""^^ 1848; came to St. Paul in 1849; 
was appointed Clerk of the District Court for Ramsey County 
in 1849, and Clerk of the Supreme Court of the Territory, Janu- 
ary, 1850; was in the United States revenue service from 1861 
to 1876, or fifteen years. 

He is a man of strongly marked individuality. He is very 
democratic in his ideas, and is very little affected by public opin- 
ion. He thinks what he pleases, does what he pleases, dresses 
as he pleases, talks as he pleases, and when aroused, is most 
emphatic in his denunciations. He is very methodical and delib- 
erate in all he does; is ne\'er in a hurry; reasons carefully; 
is cautious, and gets through the world about as easily as most 
men possibly could. He is a man of ability, and his speech be- 
fore the Chamber of Commerce years ago, although written, was 
an able })aper. When in the revenue department his decisions 
were considered final, so well posted was he in the revenue bus- 
iness. He early purchased some terribly broken acres of land 
where the great wheat elevator now is, on the line of the Mani- 
toba road, and after selling them five or six times, and being 
obliged to take them back, he finall}^ made a sale which netted 
him some $30,000 profit; and if he had held on to the property 
until now, it would have made him $60,000, but in this world of 


inconceivabilities, " we can't most always know" what is best to 
he done, and sometimes luck is more potent than brains, or even 
what is termed business capacity. Mr. Humphrey several years 
ago purchased Northern Pacific common stock for four and five 
cents per share, and it went up to sixty and seventy cents per 
share, giving him a handsome margin. He is a tall, slender 
man, walks deliberately, with his head pressed forward, is quite 
•courteous in his bearing, social in his nature, and is an unpre- 
tending, pleasant gentleman. 


I have no data by which I can fix the year in which Mr. 
Foster was born, but he is now not far from seventy years of age, 
.and probably saw^ the light of this world for the first time in the 
State of Pennsylvania, about 1815. He came to St. Paul in 
1849, after studying and practicing medicine in the P^ast, and 
was for a short time physician to the Sioux Indians. He also 
accompanied Gov. Ramsey on some of his treaty-making trips, 
-and at one time ran a small drug store on the corner of Third 
and Exchange streets. Some time about 1858 (^r 1859, he pur- 
chased the interests of Owens & Moore in the Daily Mhinesotian, 
and commenced his career as an editor. He was a pungent, 
caustic writer, but with very little discretion; believed in the 
-doctrine of " pitching in " to everybody personally, and conse- 
quently soon lost his influence. He subordinated everything 
^Ise to his own individual opinion. In this respect he was an 
editorial tyrant. 


James M.Winslow had opened the first telegraph office in St. 
Paul, and when absent a difficulty had arisen with the Times, then 
edited by the writer, and the telegraph operator, concerning the 
reception of some election returns, and this difficulty had extended 
to the Minnesotian, and both papers stopped their telegraphic dis- 
patches. On the return of Winslow, Goodrich, of the Pioneer, 
slipped in between the two discontented papers and secured the 
exclusive control of the dispatches, leaving the other two daily 
journals out in the cold. 

The Pioneer would appear first, then the other papers would 
■copy from that paper, and appear simultaneously, and so matters 


ran, until Foster conceived the idea that he would get ahead of 
the Times by bribing a Pioneer pressman to give him an advance 
copy of the Pioneer, which was to be placed under a certain 
stone, for a certain consideration. True enough, Foster got the 
paper, put in the dispatches, and the Times copied from Foster, 
whose paper had been circulated. Just as my paper was about 
to go to press, out came the Pioneer with the genuine dispatches 
(only one copy of the bogus dispatches having been printed for 
Foster's benefit,) announcing the trick, and I then whipped into 
my office, had the genuine dispatches set up from the Pioneer, 
called the readers' attention to the bogus affair, which I published 
along side the genuine, as a clear indication of my superior enter- 
prise, and ended by crowing loudly over the fact of my unim- 
peachable sagacity in not being duped ! I knew better ! of course 
I did! Foster was the victim, but I escaped just " by the skin of 
my teeth ! " — as the boys say — " you bet ! " Of course the Pioneer 
grinned and Foster growled — ** Sold, sold." 


Soon after this the leading Republicans of the State got to- 
gether and signified their desire that the two Republican papers — 
the Times and the Minnesotian — should unite, and if this thing 
could be done the paper thus united should have the public print- 
ing. After several meetings it was agreed that the consolidated 
concern should be the Minnesotian and the Times, with the firm 
name of Newson, Moore, Foster & Co., and under this arrange- 
ment Newson and Foster were to have equal powers as editors, 
one not to interfere with the editorials of the others. It was also 
understood that the paper should sustain the action of the party 
in the Legislature, and not dictate to them, as had been Foster's 
habit ; so I wrote a leading editorial to this effect, and went home, 
then living at Lake Como. Foster, in the meantime, garbled this- 
editorial and added to it, telling the Republican members what 
they should and what they should not do, and thus it w as printed 
unknown to the writer. Of course the next morning the Repub- 
licans were indignant ; a coalition was made against the paper,. 
O. Brown, of Faribault, was elected printer, and the next da}' I 
summarily dissolved the partnership, and ran tlie Tzw^i" separately 
thereafter, until it was leased to William R. ALarshall, and soon' 


after the Minncsotian died a natural death. This Httle bit of his- 
tory tells the character of Foster as an editor and a man, better 
than a volume possibly could. 


With the remnant of the wreck of the Minnesotian office. 
Foster removed to Duluth and revived his old paper, which he 
ran for a short time, secured some property there, sold it, started 
a mill in Virginia, became divorced from his first wife, married 
again, was in an office in the department at Washington, and is 
now somewhere down South, I believe, editing a paper. He had 
some social qualities, but was a positive, arbitrary character, 
which proved more an injury to himself than to others. 

Here I am again, harping on 1849, but I can't help it; peo- 
ple would come to the city that year, and I must entertain them, 
even if I do exhaust the patience of some others who want to 
jump into the '50's. 


Mr, Rice was born in Vermont in 1819; removed to Michi- 
gan in 1838; studied law and was admitted to practice in 1842 ; 
was Master in Chancery, Register of the Court of Chancery for the 
third circuit, and clerk of the Supreme Court of the State ; served 
in the Mexican war in 1848 ; settled in St. Paul in 1849; was a 
member of the law firm of Rice, HoUinshead & Becker ; left 
this firm in 1855 ; became the president of the Minnesota & Pa- 
cific Railroad Company in 1857 ; 3.1 so president of its successors, 
the St. Paul and Pacific, and the St. Paul and Chicago, until 
1872 ; made several trips to Europe in the interest of these com- 
panies, and may very properly be denominated the father^ of the 
railway system of Minnesota. Even before these roads were 
thought of, he took great interest in a projected road called the 
Northwestern, but which failed to get a recognition by Congress 
in consequence of " skullduggery " which was used in passing 
the bill. Indeed I may say he became a railroad man immediately 
after giving up the practice of law, and continued in this line of 
business over a quarter of a century. He was a member of the 
Legislature in i85i-'67-'72-'77-'78 ; of the State Senate in 
i864-5-'73-4 ; Mayor of the city of St. Paul; at one time 
County Commissioner ; Democratic candidate for Governor in 


1879; Mayor of St. Paul in 1885, second time; and has filled 
various other posts of honor and of trust. He is a man w hose 
name has been as closely indentified with the material interests 
of St. Paul as an}' person dead or li\in<^. He slipped out of 
law into railroading as easily as a locomotive can go down hill 
without brakes, and through the money of a railroad company 
he has at last secured a competency to sustain himself and family 
in their declining years. The great poet well said — " All's well 
that ends well," and Mr. Rice can verify the correctness of the 
expression in his own individual history. 


Mr. Rice, in connection with Mr. Becker, secured some 320 
acres of land, (Mr. Rice having one-half of it,) I think, of Phelan, 
away back in 1849 or 1850, at a cost of about ^400 in gold, and 
upon these one hundred and sixty acres he erected a large and 
handsome house, and here is where most of his family where born, 
and here, in this beautiful and romantic spot is were they spent 
their early years. Part of the ground was finally laid off into 
lots and sold, and the balance was disposed of to the Northern 
Pacific Railroad Company about one year ago, for $250,000, so 
out of this and the sale of lots, Mr. Rice realized for this prop- 
erty the fine sum of about $399,600. It is a little remarkable 
that having spent over a quarter of a century in railroad matters, 
during which time he became involved, that a railroad compan}' 
should at last purchase his property and thereby put him finan- 
cially upon his feet, a fact quite as interesting to the public as it 
is to his family, or to his intimate friends. 


A large, commanding figure and a courtly bearing, pleasant 
smiles and most affable ways, an unaffected dignity and a calm 
repose, mark the peculiar characteristics of Edmund Rice. 
Coupled with these may be added a most generous nature and a 
kind heart, with a sociability that would lull to rest even the 
irritable temper of Bismarck, and I have in the subject of my 
sketch elements which combined make him one of the most 
popular men in the Northwest. His very presence commands 
respect, and if that should fail, his good nature will always win 

OF ST. PAUL, MI XX. ir>5 

an avenue to the better parts of the human heart. Mr. Rice's Hfe 
has not been one of sunshine and of pleasure, but it has been one 
of battle — a constant strugLile for supremacy ; and his patience, 
and hopefulness, and untirini^ efforts durin^^ all these lon<;' years ; 
his perseverance ; his devotion ; his unruffled philosophy ; his 
calmness ; his fidelity to his friends, and his unyielding faith in a 
better day coming, haxe won for liim the crowning glory of a 
true, a heroic and an honest man. The sublime imperturbability 
with which he has met reverses in the past, and the equally sub- 
lime unaffected simplicity with which he greeted prosperity when 
it came, only show the peculiar metal of which the man is made, 
and give us the key to a character which would adorn the pages 
of Roman history. And yet Mr. Rice has plucked the flowers 
by the way-side as he passed the mile-stones of manhood and of 
middle-age — in a word — " as he journeyed through life he has 
lived by the way" — not ostentatiously, but placidly, calmly, con- 
tentedly, and thus, in old age, mellowed b)' the cares and trials 
of an active career and sustained by a respectable bank account, 
he ought to reach the end of his journey, as no doubt he will, 
the personification of a genial, gentle, loving patriarch, perhaps 
the last of the old settlers wandering amid the graves of his 
friends, the best and noblest of them all. 


Mr. Becker was born in New York in 1829; removed to 
Michigan in 1841 ; was educated at the University of Michigan 
in 1842; graduated in 1846; studied law with George Sedgwick 
up to 1 849, when he emigrated to St. Paul ; formed a copartner- 
ship with Edmund Rice and a man by the name of Whithall, 
and about a year after the firm became Rice, Hollinshead & 
]^ecker, and continued in successful practice up to 1855, when 
Mr, Rice retired, and the business was run by Hollinshead & 
Becker a year longer, when Mr. Becker withdrew. In 1857 he 
was elected one of three members of Congress from this State, 
but the lack of population prevented him from taking his seat, 
the State being entitled to only two members, when he promptly re- 
signed, giving the position to somebody else. He was appointed 
Land Commissioner of the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad in 1862; 
was elected president of the same road in 1 864 ; held the posi- 


tion for about twelve years; built some 317 miles of road; en- 
listed foreign capital ; aided in developing a wilderness country ; 
in 1854 was elected an Alderman of the city; in 1856 was 
elected Mayor; was chosen to the Democratic Constitutional 
Conv^ention in 1857; was nominated for Governor on the Demo- 
cratic ticket in 1859; in 1867 was elected to the Senate from 
Ramsey County; re-elected in 1869; nominated for Congress 
in 1872, but defeeited ; has been president of the Western 
Railroad Company, and engaged at one time somewhat in farm- 
ing in Brown's Valley, where he has some considerable property. 
Years ago he traded some lots at Superior City for the residence 
of John I. Warren, across Trout Brook, and subsequentl)' tore 
down this building and erected a large and handsome mansion, 
where he now resides. 


Mr. Becker is an ordinarily sized man, with rather mobile 
features, and is somewhat retiring in his disposition. He is a pleas- 
antly spoken gentleman ; domestic in his tastes, and moves along 
in his-every day duties quietly and methodically. While presi- 
dent of the Pacific Railroad Company he was untiring in his 
efforts to make the company's affairs a success, and did much 
toward the development of what is now known to be one of the 
best portions of Minnesota. He is interested as a citizen in mat- 
ters which concern the common good, and has always thrown 
the weight of his influence in the scale of good order, sobriety 
and law. He is popular with the masses, as the various offices 
he has held clearly show ; and while he has not been much before 
the public of late years, yet he is held in high esteem as a worthy 
citizen. He is at present a member of the Railroad Commission. 


Mr. Hollinshead was born in Philadelphia about 1835 5 stud- 
ied and practiced law in that city ; was a member of the Legisla- 
ture of that State ; came to St. Paul in 1849 J connected himself 
with Messrs. Rice and Becker in the law firm of Rice, Hollins- 
head & Becker, which in its business was one of the largest law 
firms in the West; continued in this firm up to the time of its 


o i 

dissolution, and died at the age of thirt)'-nine years. Mr. Hol- 
linshead's second wife was Miss Rice, sister of Henry M. and 
Edmund Rice, and is still living. 

He was a clear-cut lawyer, and among the best that practiced 
at the bar. He made law his specialty, and what he knew he 
knew "well. His cases were prepared with great care, and his 
papers were scrupulously neat and clean. He was also an excel- 
lent speaker, and it is said of him by a gentleman who lost his 
case when Hollinshead was his opponent — '' D n that fel- 
low! he just came up before the jury, threw back his head, 
opened his mouth, and in ten minutes he had the twelve men by 
the ears. I knew I should lose my case when I saw him enter 
the court room, and I did." 

He used clean English terms and conveyed his meaning in 
a very direct way. He was also a good writer. I remember an 
article written by him in defense of the old $5,000,000 railroad 
bond bill, which was published in the Times, and it was a masterly 
piece of argument and sarcasm. It is generally conceded by all 
the old lawyers who knew Mr. Hollinshead, that he was an able 
man at the bar in his day, and had he lived he would have been 
the ablest lawyer of to-day, simply because he gave up all his 
time and his talents to the profession, and in it he excelled. I 
belie\ e he never held any office, except as above. 


He was a large, bulky man, with a florid complexion, and 
possessed great energy, and resembled somewhat John Mathies. 
He came down the street like a cyclone, and when he appeared 
before a jury he overawed weak men by his impressive personal- 
ity. He spoke right at his case, not round it, or over it, but 
pierced it with his argum.ents and throttled it with his vehemence. 
He was more like a lion shaking his shaggy locks at his enemy, 
than an ordinary man, and when Michael E. Ames appeared as 
the counsel on the opposing side, the contrast was striking, as 
Ames was a perfect Chesterfield in manners, slender in person, 
and as gentle as a lamb. Hollinshead was a social man ; liked 
good company, and after he had won his case, nobody enjoyed 
a pleasant " sit-down " better than he. He died in the full vigor 
of manhood. 



Mr. French must have been born somewhere in the year 
1810. In early hfe he was a soldier in the Mexican war ; was at 
Fort Snelling; came to St. Paul in 1849; opened the first auc- 
tion store on Third street, near Jackson ; ran a ferry-boat ; lived 
for several years in West St. Paul, and was an active, stirring 
man. He was at one time with PVank Collins, another noted 
auctioneer in his day, who is now dead. PVench drifted to Wash- 
ington, where he secured a situation, and where he now lives in 
pleasant, comfortable circumstances. He was an energetic, pleas- 
ant man, and among the old settlers is very kindly remembered. 

French made a claim in early days near Merriam Park ; 
then he made a claim of 160 acres near St. Paul, now Elfelt and 
Bernheimer's addition, for which Mr. Elfelt paid him 32.50 per 
acre ; now worth $6,000 per acre. Original sum paid French 
for the 160 acres, $400. Property now worth $960,000. French's 
loss in not holding on, 3959,6oo. Of course these are small 
items to old settlers, and the loss of $1,000,000 does not disturb 
their equilibrium, but then it is a matter of history, and as such 
I record it. What might have been and what is, are two dis- 
tinct propositions. What is and what may be, are matters for 
the consideration of those who live to-day. Will they be wiser 
than the old settlers of 1 849 ? Let us wait and see. 

" don't dream again ! " 

We are all dreaming. Some of pleasure; some of fame; 
some of money. We can't live without dreaming. The mind 
must first conceive the ideal before the material is born. Every- 
thing invisible has a tangibility, and everything tangible has an 
invisibility. Shakspeare says : 

"We are such stuff as dreams are made of, 
And our little lives are rounded with a sleep." 

Shakspeare was right. We are all bundles of dreams ; of 
thought-projectors ; of idealities ; without which we could not 
exist ; and then after all — 

"Our little lives are rounded with n sleep." 

Thirt)'-six years ago an old Indian chief, residing near St. 
Paul, owned some forty acres of land, which were as even and 


as beautiful as ever lay out doors. This chief was in the habit 
of visiting his Kersmokerman nechee, or white man friend, and 
this friend had a military coat, with its blue cloth, glittering but- 
tons, gold trimmings and gaudy epaulettes, which the chief 
grealy admired. One morning, after having spent the night 
with the old forty-niner, the chief addressed him about as follows 
— " Me dream ! me see coat ! me like coat ! Me see white man 
give one Indian coat! Ho ! " 

The old settler paused for a moment, walked across the 
room, took down the coat, handed it to the chief, and remarked 
— " I dislike very much to part with this old friend of my bet- 
ter days, but the coat is yours." ** Ho ! Ho! " ejaculated the 
chief and with an earnest request for his white friend to come and 
see him in his tepee, he walked off with all the dignit}^ of a mili- 
tary hero, with the coat, of course, upon his back. A short 
time after this the old settler of 1849, well known in this city, 
spent a night with the chief, and in the morning he told the In- 
dian that he also had a dream, and in response to the question 
" What ? " he replied — " Kersmokerman dreamed that one Indian 
gave nechee big heap land," pointing to the forty acres which 
could be seen from the tepee door. The chief gave several ex- 
tra w^hiffs to his pipe, crossed his legs, dropped his blanket, stood 
erect with a self-satisfied air that he had been beaten, and ex- 
claimed — " Nechee Kersmokerman shall have big heap land, 
but — " (pointing his finger at his friend in a most impressive and 
almost supplicating manner) — "Kersmokerman, white man, 
don't dream a^ain." 


D. A. J. BAKER. 

Even old settlers will be a little surprised to learn that our 
genial and familiar Judge Baker taught one of the first public 
schools in the Territory of Minnesota, and yet history records 
this fact, or at least it ought to. Mr. Baker was born in Maine, 
in 1825 ; educated in his native state; studied law ; came to St. 
Paul in 1849; taught school as above, which was composed of 
103 scholars ; practiced law in this city for three years ; in com- 
pany with others pre-empted the land and located what is now 
Superior City in Wisconsin ; in six months thereafter sold his 
interest in that place for $80,000 in gold ; was appointed Judge 


b}' the Governor of Wisconsin ; held his commission about three 
years ; was County Superintendent of Schools for ten years ; 
was a member of the committee that framed the Constitution of 
this State ; about 1 867 removed to Rose township ; built on his 
farm the largest and finest green-house in the Northwest, occu- 
pied important positions in the town, such as chairman of Super- 
visors, County Superintendent of Schools, etc., etc., and has 
always been deeply interested in politics from his peculiar Dem- 
ocratic stand-point. He married Miss C. C. Kneland, to whom 
he was devotedly attached, who died in 1875. He formerly 
owned and lived in the double house which is nearly in the center 
of what is now known as Merriam Park, a thriving settlement 
about two miles from the city. He then purchased the old Hab- 
good place, some two miles above Merriam, and here he formerly 
devoted a great deal of his time in cultivating and adorning his 
place, and in raising elegant flowers, in which he was ably assisted 
by his wife. 


Mr. Baker's long residence in this city, and his constant 
association with its interests after his removal to Rose township, 
entitle him to recognition as an old settler, and as such he is 
very generally known. He is a large man ; moderate in gait and 
moderate in speech ; very decided in his opinions ; bold and dar- 
ing in his attacks, when he makes them ; loves to dispute legal 
points, and is rather fascinated with the law and its mysteries ; 
is a man of courage ; of force of character, and had he struck a 
different groove when he started out in life, he might have been 
something far different from what he now is — simply Judge Baker. 
When he fights, he fights — I mean of course figuratively — when, 
he loves, he loves. He is a man of strong mental charactericities, 
crushing down all opposition in his course, and yet he yields to 
argument and gives way under the pressure of facts. He is warm- 
hearted, generous, tender in his affections, a devoted friend and a 
more loving husband never lived. 


Judge Baker's place on the old St. Anthony road to w hich I 
have already alluded, became involved in debt, and he finally had 
to leave it. On the opposite side of the street was an elegant 


barn, and the Judge was bound to save it from the legal meshes 
of the law, so just before the time expired carrying it out of his 
possession, it is reported that he hired a large number of men on 
Sunday, and set them to work removing the barn off the premises 
into a street, and under the stimulating effects of ardent spirits, 
the huge structure groaned and twisted, and finally was landed 
safely on the public thoroughfare. Of course papers enjoining 
him were gotten out, but could not be served because it was Sun- 
day. Indeed the barn was removed before scarcely anybody in 
the city knew anything about it. I have been told by physicians, 
and of course they ought to know from their own personal ex- 
perience, that in case of sickness, whisky given to patients will 
stimulate them, but it is the first time to my knowledge, when 
whisky given to a huge barn would stimulate it sufficiently to 
enable it to get up and walk off of another man's premises and 
settle down into the public highway ! And yet when the case was 
tried the judge alleged that this was the fact, and as the barn was 
a free-moral agent and not in favor of high license and moved 
itself, nobody could be convicted of doing wrong. 


As I remember her, was a tall, graceful, fascinating woman, 
lovely in her nature and charming in her manners. 

*' None knew her but to love her, 
Nor loved her but to praise." 

She was an affectionate wife and a devoted mother, and amid 
all the trials and vicissitudes incident to the ups and downs of an 
old settler's career, she never murmured, never complained, never 
fretted, never chided ; always cheerful, always hopeful, casting 
sunshine into the home, and weaving about those she loved, 
golden chains of unbroken affection. 

** Home's not merely four square walls. 

Though with pictures hung and gilded; 
Home is where affection calls, 

Filled with shrines the heart has shielded. 
Home ! go watch the faithful dove 

Sailing 'neath the heaven above us — 
Home is where there's one to love. 

Home is where there's one to love us." 



The vacant chair ; the hushed voice ; the quietness which 
broods over the household, all tell us that the gentle woman^ 
the affectionate mother, the tender wife, the pleasant friend, has 
passed into another life, higher, better, nobler than this ; and if 
it be true, as the Indians allege, that the spirits of the dead are 
connected with the living by unseen silver cords, then Mrs. Baker 
will draw up after her all those she loved so fondly here. 


" In the background is delineated a plain ; in the distance 
are seen the last rays of the setting sun ; nearer are seen Indian 
hunters, their lodges, women and children, and a herd of buffalo.*' 


" Prominent in the foreground stands an aged man with sil- 
vered hair ; he leans upon a staff; he is in the midst of a ceme- 
tery ; the spire of a church is seen in the distance. As he turns 
from a survey of the various monuments which mark the resting 
place of departed old settlers, his eye rests upon a new-made 
grave. It is that of his late associate ; he is the last survivor ; 
his companions have fallen asleep. It is 1900. A group of 
children in the foreground represent the rising generation of Min- 
nesota, which shall reap the fruits of the * pioneer's toil.' " 

There is something very impressive about this seal, and 
especially the future, as delineated in the aged man who wanders 
among the graves of his dead companions, the last of them all. 
Old settlers are not unmindful of the suggestive warning this 
picture presents. 


Mounting the top of a stage at the old American House, 
(the inside of said vehicle being crowded with passengers,) I 
snuffed the free, fresh air of the early morning, and as the driver 
cracked his whip and the noble animals sped on their way, we 
rolled up the hill at the end of Third street and were soon on the 
old road which led to the Falls of St. Anthony. What a delightful, 
invigorating ride that was on the top of that stage ! How rapidly 
the horses moved over the ground ! How the dust flew ! How the 
heart became exhilarated ! How the passengers laughed, and sang, 
and joked ! How the birds twittered ! How the squirrels chirped ! 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN, 163 

We were going out of the great, bustling city of St. Paul, with 
its i,ooo inhabitants, into the free air of the country ! And wasn't 
it glorious ? Of course it was. The old stage since then has 
been pushed out on to the frontier, and I see it only occasionally 
in pictures, but I never can forget the good times I once had 
in the past, inside its cozy walls. But stop a minute! Look 
over to the right ! See that white house with green blinds, that 
large barn, with the figure of a rooster on the top, that lovely 
garden stretching down to the road, those waving fields of grain, 
in the midst of which is the elegant home of the thrifty farmer ! 
What a charming scene ! " Driver ! I stop here." I dismount. 
I wind up the long lane amid a row of beautiful trees ; I pause 
on the edge of a green lawn ; I step upon the portico ; I enter 
the house ; I turn back a moment and gaze with admiration on 
the scene before me ; I re-enter ; so home-like, so neat, so pleas- 
ant, so harmonious, so loving — the quiet abode of E. N. Larpen- 
teur, now a thing of the past, gone forever, and with it the old 
owner who sleeps the sleep that knows no waking. Every old 
settler of St. Paul will recognize this picture ; every lover of 
nature, of beauty, of neatness, of taste, of industry, of quietness, 
of repose, of independence, will recur to the thrifty and beautiful 
farm-house that thirty years ago could be seen on the old St. 
Anthony road, and many will recall very pleasant recollections 
of by-gone days. 

** How dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood, 
When fond recollections recall them to view ; 
The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wildwood, 
And every loved spot that my infancy knew. 

*• The mill, and the wide-spreading pond that stood near it; 
The bridge, and the rock where the cataract fell; 
The cot of my father; the dairy-house nigh it, 
And e'en the old bucket that hung in the well. 

*' The old oaken l:)ucket, the iron-bound bucket, 
The moss-covered bucket that hung in the well." 


Mr. Larpenteur, the owner of the farm just alluded to, was 
born in Paris, France, in 1805 ; emigrated to America when a 
young man and settled in Maryland, where he carried on farm- 
ing; removed to St. Paul in 1849 ^^^ purchased for ^300 the 


farm land to which I have already alluded. His father occupied 
a prominent place of honor in France, but through his Republi- 
can principles, which were not congenial to the monarchy of that 
day, he sought the shores of our Republic, where he could give 
free expression to his opinion. He died of cholera in the city of 
St. Paul, on May 6, 1 849, aged seventy-one years. E. N. Lar- 
penteur, the son, continued his farming operations three miles 
from St. Paul until about the year 1867, when he sold the land 
for ;^ 1 2,000, now worth ;$ 100,000, and gave each of his children 
something to start with in life. He was a member of the Old 
Settlers' Association, of the Union Francaise, and a devoted 
member of the Catholic Church. After disposing of his farm he 
resided until his death in this city, where his widow, his two 
daughters and a son now live. Mrs. Larpenteur has reached the 
good old age of seventy-nine years, and is still living in this city. 
She is surrounded with some of her children and grandchildren 
and many friends, and is happy and comfortable in her declining 


Mr. Larpenteur was a rare specimen of a completed man ; 
always active, always cheerful, always industrious ; devoted to 
his family, faithful to his religion, honest, frugal, upright, he has 
left behind him six children and eighteen grandchildren, and 
hundreds of friends who will ever keep green in memory his 
many virtues and his sterling qualities. He died in 1877, aged 
seventy-three years. 


The son of E. N. Larpenteur, was born in Baltimore, Octo- 
ber, 1840, in the same house where five other children first saw 
the light of day ; came to St. Paul with his father in 1 849, and 
worked on the farm in Rose township for about fourteen years, 
when, in 1866 he removed to this city and became connected 
with the music house of Zenzius & Hanke, both dead ; for a time 
was engaged at the Opera House ; devoted several years in collect- 
ing rents for houses and other bills ; was married in 1873 ; opened 
a large and fashionable milliner}' and dressmaking establishment 
on upper Third street; entered into co partnership with John B. 


Dow, for the manufacture of clothing, and employed a large 
number of girls and women ; retired from business in consequence 
of ill-health ; has been a prominent Third-ward Republican politi- 
cian ; has lived in the same ward eighteen years, and has been 
many times appointed judge of elections ; at present he is taking 
care of his own private matters, and financially is in a comfortable 


When an infant about sixteen months old, young Larpen- 
teur was as sound and as active as any child ever born, but all 
of a sudden he lost the use of his limbs, it is alleged from teeth- 
ing, and from that time forward to the present period, his spine 
has been affected. Of course physicians were employed to aid 
the little fellow in his affliction, but their efforts were unavailing. 
The child soon came to view the doctors as sacred beings, and 
henceforth began to imitate them, mixing medicines, looking at 
the tongue, feeling the pulse and talking learnedly of the symp- 
toms of the patient, and so well had he mastered his profession 
that on one occasion he stuffed into the mouth of a neighbor's 
child a mixture of sand, mud and soap, and completely cured 
her of the disease of which she was afflicted. He also ground 
up cream candy, put it into papers and doled it out to the sick as 
powders. His success in this line gained him a diploma from his 
friends, and he was dubbed thereafter " Doc," and has ever since 
meekly borne the title. 


Although an invalid Mr. Larpenteur is one of the most active 
and indefatigable workers in the city, and accomplishes in the way 
of business a good deal more than many able-bodied men. He is 
a man of excellent judgment; cool and collected; careful, hon- 
est, systematic, trustworthy, gentlemanly, kind-hearted and very 
independent, especially in the matter of his religious belief, conced- 
ing to others what he himself claims the right to have — to think 
as he pleases. Many acts of kindness and of charity, which the 
world will never know anything about, will be credited to Mr. 
Larpenteur when his final account is adjusted ; and many in the 
lowly walks of life will miss a true friend, when " Little Doc." 
has passed out of material sight into the realms of perfected 


manhood. He is one of the best-known old settlers in the city, 
and his famiHar face is recognized ahiiost everywhere. He is 
esteemed as a man and respected as a citizen. 


Ramsey County was created by the Legislature in the year 
1849, and named after Governor Ramsey. Up to this time all 
the records of the Territory were kept at Stillwater, and here is 
where all the lawyers resided. Stillwater was then the big town, 
and St. Anthony was the next biggest town, but St. Paul began to 
grow, and it was finally settled as to what place would carry off 
the honors when St. Paul was made the temporary Capital of 
the Territory. From that period the place began to increase in 
population and wealth. Then came the first paper, schools, 
churches, civilization, and Stillwater and St. Anthony fell way 


Judge Cooper was born in Pennsylvania somewhere about 
1820; studied and practiced law in his native State; was ap- 
pointed one of the Associate Judges of the first Supreme Court 
of the Territory of Minnesota, by President Taylor ; came to St. 
Paul in 1 849 ; at the expiration of his term he practiced law in 
this city ; finally went to Nevada ; made mining titles his spe- 
cialty ; from thence he removed to Utah, where he died, aged about 
fifty-five years. 

Judge Cooper was a medium-sized man, with a clear com- 
plexion, good features, very gentlemanly in his make-up, and 
was especially noted for his ruffled shirt bosom and ruffled cuffs, 
which gave him the appearance of " an old-school gentleman," 
such as we see in the person of Wm. Penn. He had a neat 
appearance except when he allowed tobacco juice to drop on 
his shirt bosom, as he was an inveterate lover of the weed. 
He was a diligent student ; not brilliant as a lawyer nor as a Judge, 
yet a good deal of an antagonist m a legal fight, and was very 
social in his habits. 

" I'll READ the rules myself." 

The rules governing the first court were submitted to the 
judges in the hand-writing of several lav\ycrs, and were conse- 


quently very hard to read. Clerk J. K. Humphrey had mastered 
about one-third of them, then hesitated, and was trying to pick 
out a word to make sense, when Cooper reached over the desk, 
and in an irritable manner asked for the book, remarking — " I'll 
read the rules myself," and then muttering something about hav- 
ing a clerk who could neither read nor write, he proceeded to do 
what Humphrey could not do, viz., read just three lines, when he 
came to a pause, turned the book to the light, twisted it one way 
and then the other, looked up, became red in the face, threw the 
book down on the desk and ordered a recess of the court. Hum- 
phrey " sniggered right out in meetin','' the lawyers laughed, the 
Judge pulled his hat over his head and remarked — " A lawyer 
that will write such a hand as that ought to be suspended from 
practicing in the Courts." That same lawyer subsequently be- 
came a United States Senator from Minnesota, the Judge died in 
a hospital in a distant western State, a poor, broken-down man. 
Humphrey still lives in St. Paul, and is as calm and as good- 
natured now as he was then, thirty-six years ago. 


Capt. Bond was born in Pennsylvania about 1825 ; came to 
St. Paul in 1 849 ; accompanied Gov. Ramsey in his treaty- 
making tours ; wrote " Camp-Fire Sketches," and other articles ; 
in 1853 opened a drug store in upper town with M. N. Kellogg ; 
issued a work called " Minnesota and her resources ; " bought out 
Kellogg and ran the business to 1861, when he was appointed 
Captain Commissary in the army ; served four years ; went to 
Europe ; returned ; was State Emigrant Agent for several years, 
and latterly has been engaged in the insurance business. 

Captain Bond is peculiar. He has a good-sized bald head ; 
is slender in person, but a man of indomitable will-power and 
energy ; is persevering and determined ; prides himself upon be- 
ing independent, and snaps his fingers at public opinion. He is 
a man of considerable ability as a writer ; very secretive ; keeps 
out of society ; loves home ; in a word turns his back upon the 
world, caring very little for its good opinion or its bad. He 
takes very little interest in public affairs, and plods on in his own 
individual groove. He gained some notoriety years ago by a 
dream he claims to have had wherein he pictured out the con- 


struction of the Northern Pacific railway and the growth of St. 
Paul, most of which has actually come to pass. 


Mr. Terry was born in Ohio in 1824; was educated at an 
academy in his native State ; learned the printing business ; 
edited a paper in Lima ; was foreman of the Defraine Democrat, 
Ohio ; was an attache of the army in Mexico ; came to St. Paul 
in 1849; engaged in lumbering; was an employe on the C/iron- 
icle 2ind Registej'; published in 1851 the first Revised Statutes 
of the Territory of Minnesota, and the volume bears his name; 
was the first publisher of the Minnesotian in 1852; was assistant 
postmaster under Major Forbes and other postmasters, for eight- 
een years ; was a member of the Board of Education for a 
number of terms ; has been a member of the Board of Public 
Works, and at present is secretary of the Masonic Relief Asso- 


Mr. Terry drifted out of his various occupations into that 
of real estate. He first purchased a lot on Walnut street, for 
which he paid $100, worth now ;^6,ooo ; owned two lots on 
Wacouta street, for which he paid ;^300, worth ;^20,ooo; pur- 
chased corner of Eighth and Wacouta one lot for ^1,800, worth 
^15,000; fifty feet east of last lot for $200, will bring $7,000; 
fifty feet east of the last property for ;^6oo, can't be purchased 
now for ;^20,ooo; seventy-five feet on Seventh street for ;^I75, 
sold it for ;^400, worth now $30,000 ; corner of Sibley and Tenth 
streets, 50x100 feet, $800, sold for $6,000, worth $35,000; two 
lots on Ninth street, one now owned by J. J. Hill, for which he 
paid $50, sold for $ioo, worth $15,000; was offered forty acres 
near where the old Park Place used to stand, corner St. Peter and 
Summit avenue, for $3 per acre, or $120; worth now $30,000 
per acre, or in the aggregate $1,200,000; was urged by Dr. 
Borup to buy a block of lots on Third street, then a swamp, where 
Griggs & Foster's warehouse now stands, for $50 per block, but 
Mr. Terry says most emphatically — "I did not take it." The 
same block is now worth $300,000 ! ! ! And so the list might be 
carried out indefinitely, but I forbear. Terry says if he had 


;^ 1, 000,000 to-day he would invest it in St. Paul property, as he 
has great faith in the growth of the city. 


Mr. Terry is a tall man, moderate in his movements and 
moderate in his speech, and I never shall forget him as I saw 
him for the first time with his large head peeping out from behind 
the window of the old postoffice, thirty-two years ago. I thought 
such a man, with such a head, ought to be distinguished in the 
halls of Congress, or as the president of some immense railroad 
corporation, but experience has taught me that it is not large 
heads or brains that succeed financially, but small heads with 
money-making proclivities will carry off the prize every time. 
Mr. Terry, like many other old settlers, has had his ups and 
downs ; his troubles and his trials ; yet he has filled his sphere 
of usefulness, and now, in advanced years, philosophically meets 
events as they transpire. He is undemonstrative in his nature, 
retiring in his disposition, and is esteemed both as a Mason and 
a man. 


You pass by Moore's building at the Seven Corners, continue 
up on the right West Seventh formerly Fort street, about half a 
block, and you come to a long wooden edifice now occupied as 
a fruit store, but better known to the old settlers as the rendez- 
vous and residence of the late Luther H. Eddy. This building 
formerly stood on the corner of Fort and Eagle streets and was 
known as " Monk Hall," celebrated in its day for the conviviali- 
ties incident to some of the men and the times of 1849. Among 
these was one known as ''Jim Vincent," a splendid-looking fel- 
low, whose social nature and gentlemanly bearing made him a 
welcome guest anywhere, with or without money ; and then there 
was Charlie Henniss, a warm-hearted, generous person, a good 
newspaper writer, an effective and graceful speaker; and then 
— and then — but I will not mention any more names, but simply 
state — 

White spirits, black spirits, blue spirits, gray, 
Mingle, mingle, mingle, but all have passed away ; 
They sing not, they dance not, nor respond to our call, 
But echo and re-echo the name of " Monk Hall." 


From which one would infer (the poetry being partly origi- 
nal,) that the old devotees of the past had come back to indulge 
in the *' flowing bowl " and to sing and live over again their weird 
and mystic lives. One can almost hear the strains of the violin 
and see the moving figures, and hear the voice of the leader call- 
ing out — 

" On with the dance, let joy be unconfined ; no sleep till morn, 
Till youth and beauty meet, to chase the hours with flying feet." 

And then the last night has come, the last song is to be 
sung, the last dance to be enjoyed, the last farewell given, the 
last drink taken, when we hear the chorus : 

" Come, pass round the bowl — we'll drink while we stay, 
Although from the hall ere the dawning of day 
Our order forever wide-scattered shall be, 
No more to unite in our wild revelry. 
Bright spirits of Heaven, and spirits of hell. 
With their thin airy forms and sulphurous smell, 
Flit wildly around us and join in our glee, 
Sing to our dancing and bend the gay knee." 

The actors are all dead, but old " Monk Hall " still stands 
to remind us of some of the incidents of 1849, which I now pass 
into history. 


These gentlemen were the first legitimate bankers in the 
Territory of Minnesota, and indeed I may say in the City of St. 
Paul. Charles W. Borup, the senior member, was born in 
Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1 806, and died in St. Paul July, 1859, 
aged 53 years. He came to Mackinaw, Lake Superior, in 1831, 
was connected with what was known as the Northern Outfit, 
established at St. Louis, to trade with the Chippewa Indians, and 
had in charge trading posts at Rainy Lake. He subsequently 
became chief agent of the American Fur Company, then con- 
trolled by P. Choteau, Jr., & Co., of St. Louis, Missouri. At one 
time he lived at Fort Snelling, Leech Lake, etc., and came to St. 
Paul to reside permanently in 1849. 


In 1853 Borup and Oakes went into the banking business 
in this city in a building which stood opposite the Merchants 


hotel, where the Prince block now stands. In December of this 
year I called upon them for the first money I had earned in the 
Territory as a writer on the Pioneer — amount $130 — when I was 
told they did not have funds enough in the bank to pay, but they 
would have some in a day or two. I waited and was paid. And 
this was banking in the early days ! Then their business increased, 
and they moved to a room under the Merchants hotel. In course 
of time the bank put out bills of an institution belonging to 
George Smith, called the Atlanta money. Then the business of 
the institution began 'to swell to large proportions ; but the peo- 
ple became uneasy about this class of bills and they were driven 
home on the bank, and thereafter the owners confined themselves 
to a more ligitimate mode of financiering. 

"two endorsers, sir." 

Late one afternoon a then prominent dry goods merchant 
and an intimate friend of Mr. Borup, rushed into the bank while 
a crowd of men were standing about the paying clerk's desk, and 
told Mr. Borup he wanted ^3,000 to send to New York. 

" Have you two endorsers?" inquired Mr. Borup. 

" Why— no— Mr. Borup. You know " 

Can't help it." 

Mr. Borup," expostulated the merchant, " if I don't get 
this aid I am ruined." 

" I can't help it, sir ; you must have two endorsers, sir ; that 
is our rule, sir, and we can't deviate in your case." 

The men in the crowd looked at each other and Borup went 
on with his business. The merchant retired to his private room, 
and sinking into a chair, exclaimed — " I am lost ! " when a gentle 
tap was heard at the door and a boy handed him a note reading: 

Your $3,000 has been sent. Never again ask for accommodations in a crowd 
without being ready to comply with our rules. See me privately. Yours, B. 

Of course the merchant was saved financially, and when he 
wanted any further accommodation at the bank, he took good 
care to see Mr. Borup *' privately." 


Mr. Borup was a short, thick-set man, with a florid com- 
plexion, and, I think, with blue eyes. He was quick in speech 


and quick in motion ; very decided in his way and all business. 
He could be very stern and then again could be very mild. He 
was a remarkable man, of tact and will-power, never yielding in 
business matters, and yet, as a father, husband, friend, kind, gentle, 
loving. As a banking man of to-day he would rank high. 
Charles H. Oakes, his partner, was right the opposite in all these 
characteristics. He was always smiling, always kind, less brusque 
in his ways than Borup, but more easy in his nature. He rarely 
disagreed with anyone, and yet he was a man who had a mind 
of his own. He was venturesome ; Borup never went outside of 
legitimate business. They got along well together as partners, 
as Borup did the business and Oakes always agreed with him. 


Mr. Borup entered his bank one morning and complained of 
a pain in his heart. He finally left the bank, leaning on the arm 
of a friend, still living, and reached his home. The friend left, 
and in fifteen minutes after Mr. Borup was dead, struck down 
while sitting in his chair, by heart disease. He was a man of 
strong character, and as a financier would rank among the best 
of to-day. He left quite a large family, only four or five of whom 
survive him. 


Judge Goodrich informs me that while in a grocery store in 
upper town on the 4th day of July, 1850, he overheard a rough 
customer request volunteers to go down and lynch " old Borup." 
The Judge's devoted friendship for Mr. B. led him to make quick 
steps to the office of the doomed man, and he had just time to 
inform Mr. Borup of what was in contemplation, when the crowd 
pressed in upon him. The leader informed the banker that he 
had insulted not only them, but the whole American nation. 
Borup wanted to know how, when they pointed to the top of his 
house, which then stood on the corner of Fourth and Jackson 
streets, and there they saw floating an English flag! Borup was 
dumbfounded, but recovering his senses he assured the crowd 
that he meant no disrespect ; in fact, he did not know that the 
flag was there. On investigation it was found that his little son 
Gus, aged about six years, in rummaging a trunk, had found the 


flag which had been given to Mr. Borup by an Indian from the 
British Possessions, and out of pure patriotism for the American 
eagle, had chmbed upon the top of the house and without the 
consent or knowledge of his father, had thrown it to the breeze. 
The crowd was satisfied with the explanation, and Mr. Borup 
went into the house muttering to himself — " That Gus will be the 
ruin of me yet " — while the little fellow shoved his hands deep 
down into his breeches pockets with a self-assured air that he 
was master of the situation. Gus is still alive. 


I find that notwithstanding I have reached the year 1850, 
yet there are several old settlers left straggling along in 1849, ^^^d 
I propose to pick them up and put them among the other land- 
marks which adorn my history. One of the most unpretending 
of these is John Rogers, who kept a hotel on Robert street, next 
to the new German-American Bank, up to 1885, and where he 
had continuously acted as landlord for the past thirty-two years, 
out-ranking any other landlord in the city or State. Mr. Rogers 
was born in Ireland in 1828, came to America in 1845, and to 
St. Paul in 1849. He purchased two lots where he now lives on 
Robert street, for ;$250, worth at present ^30,000. Upon one of 
these lots he built a small wooden house in which he resided, and 
later, in 1852, he erected on his other lot the brick building which 
is now his hotel. In 1849 the land was prairie back to Waba- 
sha street, while in front of his house it was broken, and a 
stream of water gurgled down under what is known as the build- 
ing; of the First National Bank. He was elected one of the first 
x\ldermen of the city, and he and Bush Lott are the only surviv- 
ing Aldermen of that day. He was also School Inspector for 
three years. In 1850 he was the first butcher who ran a cart 
and supplied St. Paul, St. Anthony, Fort Snelling and Mendota 
with fresh meat. Mosher & Douglas started an opposition line, 
but while they were blacking their boots and polishing their stove 
pipe hats preparatory to starting out on their journey, Rogers 
had made his rounds, supplied his customers and was on his way 
home. Of course the opposition firm went out of business in 
less than a year. He was in the habit of purchasing flocks of 
sheep and fattening them on the natural food they found just in 


front of his house, and reaching down to Jackson street. He 
has had fifteen children born in Minnesota, nine of whom are 
aHve, and two sons are in business for themselves. His hotel 
building has thirty-two rooms in it, and he has run it himself 
just thirty-two years. 


Mr. Rogers is a small man, keen, quiet, unpretending and 
yet full of genuine Irish wit. He is a man who has paid strict 
attention to his business, and has been satisfied to let well enough 
alone. In over a quarter of a century while others have made 
changes he has obstinately '* held the fort," and now in turn the 
fort holds him as he glides quietly and peacefully down the valley 
of life, bearing the honor of being the oldest landlord in the 


Mr. Russell was born in Vermont in 1820; resided in Mich- 
igan three years ; came to Fort Snelling at the request of Hon. 
H. M. Rice, in 1839, traveling on foot from Prairie du Chien 
through deep snow with only an Indian guide ; removed to the 
Indian country in 1845 ^"^ entered the employ of Gen. Sibley ; 
became a resident at the Falls of St. Anthony in 1847 and 
entered the service of the late Franklin Steele; in the fall of that 
year opened the first store in what is now Minneapolis ; w^as 
married to Miss Marion Patch in 1848, it being the first marriage 
ceremony performed at the Falls of St. Anthony ; came to St. 
Paul in 1849 and took charge of the business of H. M. Rice; 
in the fall of that year formed a partnership with J. D. Crutten- 
den ; then removed to St. Anthony and engaged in mercantile 
business, and as St. Anthony was in Ramsey County, Mr. Rus- 
s.'ll was elected Count}- Commissioner the year before the first 
Court House was built; served three years and signed the bonds 
issued for buikliiiLf the same; in 1862 was elected to the Lecris- 
lature; in 1854 was appointed Receiver of the United States for 
the Minneapolis land oflfice ; resigned in 1858. During the time 
he was Receiver nearly all the land in said district, including 
West St. Paul and all of Dakota County were sold to actual 
settlers at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre! In 1862 lie 
was elected one of the Trustees of the then village of Minneap- 


olis ; served until the village became a city ; was elected chairman 
of the Board of Town Supervisors for the town of Minneapolis 
in 1872, and served continuously until 1883 ; laid out a part of 
what is now the city of Minneapolis, and has done his full share 
in building up that city. N. W. Kittson, H. M. Rice and Mr. 
Russell are probably the three oldest former living residents of 
Hennepin County, Mr. Russell being the oldest settler now living 
in the county. Ten children once graced the family circle of this 
old settler, nine of whom still survive. 


In all the positions of trust and of responsibility in which 
Mr. Russell has been placed, he has filled them with great credit 
to himself and to the entire satisfaction of his employers. He is 
a quiet, honest, honorable gentleman, very popular and very 
greatly esteemed by those who know him. He has a plenty of 
this world's goods, is surrounded by an interesting family of 
children, and is among the most respected and best known of the 
citizens of our sister city. 


A venerable looking man, but a man of fine ability and 
strong character, is Rev. Hobart, now living in Red Wmg, Min- 
nesota, aged seventy-four years. He has a prominent forehead 
and decided features, which mark him as a man of great endur- 
ance and power, and though now passed three-score-years-and- 
ten, yet he is vigorous even in old age. He was born on the 
shores of Lake Champlain, in Vermont, in 181 1, and is one of 
twins ; was raised on a farm, and at the age of eight years was 
in the habit of riding twelve miles on horseback to carry grist 
to tlie mill ; attended a country school ; moved with his parents 
to Illinois in 1821 ; joined the church in 1834; married the same 
year; in 1835 was licensed to exhort; and was soon after rec- 
ommended to preach, and so authorized, and from this time for- 
ward Mr. Hobart wended his way through forests and swamps 
in the far West, and has been preaching nearly fifty years. He 
came to St. Paul in 1849, when there were only 400 inhabitants. 
He was the first Chaplain of the first Legislature, and through 
his labors completed the little brick church fronting Rice Park. 


In his history of his Hfe he speaks of a journey to a camp-meet- 
ing in the following manner: 

" Then we plunged into the wilderness, which we knew to be a vast, dense 
unbroken forest for the next one hundred miles, with nothing to guide us but the 
sun, the stars, and a pocket-compass; had food for three and a half days ; four 
blankets, coffee pot, two tin cups, a hand-ax, a rifle, and a pair of saddle-bags. After 
havino- traveled about fifteen miles, we camped in a deep ravine in a choke-cherry 
thicket, just deserted by a company of bears. The next day we passed over a rough 
country, many hills being more than four hundred feet high. Found shelter in a 
friendly cave while a severe thunder-storm passed by, and then we camped that night 
in a deep ravine, and were thoroughly drenched about midnight, being then driven 
out of bed to find shelter behind the large trees around us. In the morning we dried 
our clothes by a rousing fire, ate our breakfast, offered up our morning prayer, and 
pursued our journey." 

Mr. Hobart purchased two lots in Red Wing in 1853, and 
upon these lots he built a humble home, where he now resides. 
He was a resident of Minneapolis for some time, and then moved 
to St. Paul, where he continued some years, and now makes his 
home in Red Wing. He is a gallant old soldier of the Cross of 


Capt. Wilkin was a brother of Judge Wilkin, of our Dis- 
trict Court, and son of the late Judge Samuel Wilkin of Orange 
County, N. Y., where he was born in the year 1820. He studied 
law with his father, and for a time practiced at Goshen. In 1 847 he 
enlisted for the Mexican war ; was commissioned Captain ; served 
under Gen. Taylor; came to St. Paul in 1849; practiced his 
profession, when, in 1851 he was appointed United States Mar- 
shal for Minnesota, and served until 1853, and that year he was 
a candidate for Congress, but was defeated, when, in i860 he 
espoused the cause of Stephen A. Douglas. He visited Europe 
during the Crimean war, roamed among the allied armies, and 
became thoroughly posted in the soldier art of the European 
forces. He was in St. Paul practicing his profession and deal- 
ing in real estate up to the breaking out of the rebellion ; re- 
cruited the first company of the first regiment for the war ; was 
Major of the Second Minnesota ; commissioned Lieutenant-Col- 
onel of the same regiment in 1862 ; made Colonel of the Ninth 
Regiment the same year ; left the frontier and took part against 
Forest in the South ; acted bravely at Bull Run ; when, in the 


battle of Tupelo, Mississippi, on July 14, 1864, he was shot 
through the heart and killed instantly. 


Capt. Wilkin was a small man, not weighing much over one 
hundred pounds, yet he was the soul of honor and of manhood. 
I knew him intimately and well, as he was associated with the 
writer financially in the establishment of the old Times. He was 
brave, active, manly, sensitive, honorable, generous, courteous, 
ambitious and chivalrous. He was aspiring, and would have 
been glad to have held some responsible political position, and yet 
he would have scorned to have obtained it through any mean 
trick. Failing in achievijig his ideal political preferment, he 
entered the army, and here he exhibited traits of character which 
proved him to be a brave and noble soldier. He was excitable 
in his temperament and quick to resent a wrong, yet he was 
magnanimous and forgiving. Few men have gone down to the 
grave with a better record or a better name than Col. Alex. Wil- 
kin, and few names will be more kindly remembered by the old 
settlers, than that of the ** Little Captain." 


An old man, eighty-three years of age, who arrived in this 
city thirty-six years ago, and who was born in Virginia in 1801 
and came to St. Paul in 1849, is a living memento of the old 
Central House in which the first session of the first Legislature 
was held, for Mr. Kennedy at this time was the famous landlord 
of this famous hotel, the first public house the writer stopped at 
when he came to St. Paul in the year 1853. After running the 
Central House for three years, he moved to Shakopee in 1854, 
built and ran a hotel there thirteen years, when he returned to St. 
Paul in 1857 and kept a boarding house for a time; then ran 
what was known as " Moffett's Castle " three years ; was landlord 
of the old Snelling House on now West Seventh street two years ; 
again kept a boarding house ; then took the Burnand House on 
Fourth street, and ran that for several years, thus filling out in 
Minnesota some thirty years of his life as landlord and boarding 
house keeper. 



In 1853 Mr. Kennedy was appointed Collector of Customs 
for the port of St, Paul, and he held this office up to 1856, when 
he resigned in favor of a little, dumpty old settler by the name 
of L. B. Wait, a peculiar character in his day. During his term 
of office, that is, three years, Mr. Kennedy received ^46.42 as 
custom house fees. He was also inspector of steamboats and 
did a lively business when the boats arrived, which in those early 
days was not very often. 


Mr. Kennedy, tired of catering to the inner man, which is 
the biggest part of the human family, in 1864 started over the 
plains for the gold mines of Montana, where he remained about 
a year. Here he made a gold claim near where Helena is now 
a prosperous city, and out of this he took gold enough to pay all 
his debts, most of which had been accumulated by endorsing. 
After his return home his son sold out his gold claim in Mon- 
tana for ;^370, now worth $300,000! 

Mr. Kennedy came in contact with many rough characters 
in early days, which tested his personal courage. In one instance 
he was informed that a bad man was about the street armed with 
a knife seeking his life. Kennedy confronted him, took the knife 
out of his belt, and actually forced him to go and deliver it up 
where he got it. At another time an ugly fellow threatened to 
shoot him, but Kennedy met him boldly, got the drop on him, 
and the fellow threw up the sponge. 

Both Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy are considerably advanced in 
years, and they claim that during the Indian rebellion they fed 
horses and men for whicli they never received a cent. Mr. K. 
is incapacitated from performing any labor in consequence of an 
injury to his knee, while Mrs. K., a kind, genial, worthy lady, is 
worn out with hard w ork. They both deserve a pension of the 


Mr. Borup is a son of the late Charles W. Borup and the 
same little fellow who planted an English flag on the top of the 
flag staff of his father's house, on the Fourth of July, 1850, and 


which act came very near causing his father considerable trouble, 
for the particulars of which see notice of C. W. Borup. He was 
then about six years of age. He was born at La Pointe, Wis- 
consin, in 1 841 ; came to St. Paul in 1849, and is therefore one 
of the oldest settlers. He was for a time with his brother Theo- 
dore in the grocery and commission business, and then became 
agent for the transportation lines of the Great Western, Erie and 
Pacific Dispatch, in which position he has continued ever since. 
He is a quiet, pleasant, industrious gentleman, well posted in his 
business and much devoted to it. He is very generally esteemed 
for his many good qualities. 


Mr. Spencer was born in Kentucky in 1821 ; was raised 
upon a farm ; attended a common school ; learned the carpenter 
trade ; came to St. Paul in 1 849 ; worked at his trade here ; 
engaged in steamboating in 1856 ; in 1862 went to Montana, and 
was among the first to make mineral discoveries there; accumu- 
lated ;^ 1 0,000, mostly from building houses and selling them and 
running a saw mill; returned to St. Paul in 1865 and worked 
at his trade ; invested money made in real estate ; went to Duluth 
in 1869, where he remained until 1872; built the great break- 
water and dock at that place ; cost $200,000 ; is at present 
engaged at his old trade of building houses in this city. 


Mr. spencer at one time owned 200 feet square on the cor- 
ner of Wacouta and Third streets, for which he paid $1,500; 
worth now $200,000 ; 50x150 feet on Robert street, between Third 
and Fourth, cost $100, worth $25,000; 50 feet on Robert street, 
between Fifth and Sixth streets, upon which Dr. Potts' old house 
stands, cost $90 ; worth $30,000 ; seventy-five feet on Wabasha 
street for $800 ; sold for $1 ,000 ; worth $30,000 ; a lot on Minne- 
sota street for $900 ; sold for $1,500; worth $20,000; one acre 
between Broadway and Canada streets, for $500 ; worth $25,000; 
103 acres in West St. Paul, cost $1,000; worth $1,000,000; 
owned property on Fourth, Pine, Rosabel, Fifth, Sixth and other 
streets; 120 acres near Como; 160 acres beyond the property 
of Edmund Rice ; and indeed for $5000 he could have bought 


property in St. Paul in 1849 which is now worth ;^ 1 5,000,000 ! 
Mr. Spencer lost most of his real estate by endorsing for others, 
and yet he has some left. He owns some eight houses in the 
city and the amount of property he has saved is sufficient to 
enable him to live comfortably, and yet he had the ground-work 
laid for a large fortune. 


Mr. Spencer has sandy whiskers and sandy hair ; is tall, 
slender ; moderate in his speech and in his movements, and quite 
a philosopher in his way. He is a good mechanic ;. keeps right 
along at his work ; never allows anything to disturb his equi- 
librium, and never frets over " what might have been ! " He is 
a quiet, cool, conservative, pleasant man and a good citizen. 


Mr. Ramsey, brother of Hon. Alexander Ramsey, was born 
in Pennsylvania near Harrisburg, in 1821; was early left an 
orphan ; received a common school education ; learned the trade 
of a printer ; carried the chain in the survey of the line of the 
Pennsylvania Railroad through the mountains; came to St. Paul 
in 1849 with about $15,000 in cash; was a member of the Leg- 
islature in 1850-3-7, and for several years was an agent of the 


Soon after Mr. Ramsey's arrival in this city, in connection 
with his brother he purchased a one-quarter interest in Rice and 
Irvine's addition to St. Paul, including one-quarter interest in 
the old American House, then partially completed, for ^2,500 — 
the property being jointly owned by the two brothers — now the 
same property is worth $500,000. He also purchased outside 
real estate, so that when he died in January, 1881, he was worth 

The will of Mr. Ramsey bequeathed to eight nieces and 
nephews, and to the Catholic and Protestant Orphan Asylums of 
St. Paul, an equal interest in his estate, or about $15,000 apiece, 
and this is, I believe, the first public bequest ever given by any 


citizen of St. Paul, although many men have died here much 
richer than Mr. Ramsey was. 


In early days Mr. Ramsey entered largely into social life, 
but of late years he became more sedate and thoughtful. He 
was in some respects a peculiar man. He was of good size ; 
bold, frank and devoid of show ; despised cant and hypocrisy ; 
never wore an overcoat in the coldest of weather during his res- 
idence in Minnesota, except once or twice ; was frugal in dress 
and in every other way in the expenditure of his money, and 
yet he quietly gave considerable to the needy. He usually 
walked with his hands in his pockets, and for twelve years made 
one room in this city his home. He was an unmarried man, and 
so far as I can learn, had no entangling matrimonial alliances. 
He was a mason and had taken the thirty-second degree. 


For several years Mr. Ramsey had been afflicted with dys- 
pepsia and it had grown upon him to such an extent that it 
affected his mind. Meeting him soon after his brother was 
brought out in the newspapers for Senator, he exclaimed — " Why 
do you do that ! Why do you do that ! Aleck is a bankrupt ! 
can't raise ^3,000 in the world ! he ought to keep out of politics 
and attend to his business ! he's a poor man ! a poor man ! " His 
indignant look and vehement expression clearly showed that 
something was wrong. Then again, just before his death, a 
friend informed him that he had better go to Florida and eat 
fruit. " Can't do it! can't do it! " he exclaimed — " I'm too poor! 
Havn't any money ! can't buy fruit ! " The evening before his 
death he partook of California wine and cake, and it was noticed 
that his voice had a sorrowful tone. Then he was worried over 
a suit of the government which had been brought to recover on 
an officer's bond, and as Mr. Ramsey was one of the bondsmen, 
he was afraid he would be obliged to pay ^20,000. These things 
no doubt had something to do in unsettling his mind. He w^as 
found dead in his room, January 24, 1 881, and thus passed into 
history all that remained of Justus C. Ramsey, except his noble 


gift to the little orphans, and that will ever remain green and 
grand in the ever grateful present and the coming future. 


These two gentlemen came to St. Paul in 1849. Charles 
was a butcher, and at one time owned a good deal of property, 
and his real estate on Jackson street alone, if he had held it, 
would have made him a rich man. He was born in Ireland about 
1825 ; was engaged in the lumbering business quite extensively 
in Maine and in New Brunswick ; on arriving at St. Paul entered 
the cattle trade ; then started a store on Jackson street and at 
one time had meat contracts with the government. 

William Colter was born in the north of Ireland in 1833; 
was educated at a common school ; came to America in 1 845 ; 
engaged in the lumbering business in Maine ; arrived at St. Paul 
in 1849; went on a survey; took a contract for splitting rails; 
with his brother engaged in the meat business ; shipped stock 
and killed it ; was Second Lieutenant in the Minnesota Heavy 
Artillery ; served about one year ; health being poor went to the 
Pacific coast, California, Australia, Sandwicli Islands, Central 
America, &c. ; during this trip engaged in mining enterprises ; 
returned to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where he engaged in mer- 
cantile pursuits, but in the crash of 1873 lost heavily; returned 
to St. Paul in 1875 ; commenced the hat, cap and gentlemen's 
furnishing business in 1876; was burned out; went to the Black 
Hills with groceries; and then to Texas in 1878; lost heavily 
there ; made for Leadville ; struck a streak of good luck ; came 
back with health impaired and went to work for the city in 1880 ; 
has been thus engaged for five years. 

He was at one time quite well off, but lost most of his money 
in endorsing, and has but little left of the wreck of a fortune of 
over $150,000. He procured a pension for injuries while in the 
army, and is now contented with his every-day work, and he does 
work hard and faithfully. 

" DARK AS the DEVIL." 

Two topers went to bed in a wayside inn one night with the 
understanding that they were to be up early in the morning to 
take the stage. One of them arose about f^ur o'clock, opened 

OF ST. PA UL,^ MINN. 183 

the blind, put his head out into the air and exclaimed to his half 
awake companion : 

*' John ! it is as dark as the devil — going to storm, and I 
smell brimstone ! " 

John got up, and after fumbling around for a while, stuck 
his head out of the window and remarked to Jim : 

" Well, old boy, it is pretty dark ; I guess the storm is com- 
ing, but I smell cheese ! " 

They both had stuck their heads into a cupboard instead of 
out of a window, while the sun was shining brightly, the birds 
were singing gaily and the stage had been gone several hours ! 

Colter says he thought it was pretty black when he thrust 
his head out into the financial sky in 1873, and he is quite sure 
he smelt brimstone ! He is a social, pleasant man, and has 
arrived at that stage of life when philosophy usurps the gay 
dreams of youth and tones the ardor of more mature manhood. 


Born in Vermont in 1822 ; came to St. Paul in 1849; was 
among the first painters in the city ; enlisted in the Union army 
for ninety days ; then for three years, and went through all the 
battles without a scratch ; at the end of his time he re-enlisted, 
and lost his leg in the first engagement. Mr. Sherman is a bach- 
elor, quiet, modest, and very retiring in his nature. He has been 
connected with the insurance business, and is a striking illustra- 
tion of the poetical expression : 

'• P'ull many a flower is born to blush unseen, 
And waste its fragrance on the desert air." 

He is a good citizen and a good man. 


Mr. Selby was born in Ohio in 1812 ; was for many years a 
resident of St. Louis and Cincinnati, and in the latter city was a 
partner in a large commission house. Sickness induced him to 
come to Minnesota, and he settled in St. Paul in 1849. 

He purchased ten acres on St. Anthony hill running from 
College avenue back upon to the hill, for ;^200, orten dollars per 
acre, and this he put under cultivation, raising potatoes and gar- 


den vegetables. James K. Humphrey, Esq., advanced him the 
money to make this purchase, he having invested his surphis funds 
in merchandise, etc., and before he had fully closed the trade he 
was offered ;$i,000 for his bargain, but he erected a small house 
upon the ground and kept the property until he sold all his land 
below Summit avenue (reserving that above,) for a sum of money 
sufficient to enable him to erect his brick homestead where the 
Kittson mansion now stands, well known to old settlers. In 1850 
he bought forty acres lying back and west of his original pur- 
chase, for which he paid fifty dollars per acre. This land was 
then covered with trees and underbrush, which he cleared and 
cultivated. The same property is worth now ;^io,ooo per acre, 
or in the aggregate $800,000. At the time he made his first pur- 
chase there were only one or two houses above Seven Corners, 
while now it has some of the handsomest dwellings in the city. 


He was a member of the Legislature in 1852, City Assessor,, 
member of the Board of County Commissioners, and a leading 
elder in the First Presbyterian Church. 

Mr. Selby was a man of medium size and rather slender ; 
had sharp features, a clean-cut nose, and reminded one of a New 
England Yankee. He was very industrious, economical and 
thrifty. He obtained quite a living from his .garden, and that 
with the sale of part of his land, made him at the time he died,, 
comfortably well off. He was a conscientious, liberal-minded, high- 
toned gentleman, and was universally respected by the commun- 
ity. He died of a tumor in the stomach on the nth of April, 
1855, aged forty-three years, and very (e\v men have left behind 
them a better record or a better name than that of J. W. Selby. 


Mrs. Selby may very justly be classed among the old set- 
tlers, and one who did her share towards moulding public senti- 
ment. I remember her as a bright, jovial, pleasant woman, 
always cheerful and scattering sunshine in her path. She toiled 
with her husband to accumulate their property, and after his 
death visited Europe and thc.i married her old lover, now Senator 
Conger from Michigan. 


In early days the writer advocated the principles of temper- 
ance strongly, and on the incoming of the New Year he sug- 
gested that the ladies present nothing to their gentlemen friends 
stronger than coffee, so Mrs. Selby, in the goodness of her heart, 
set a special table for my benefit, in which coffee was to be the 
leading feature, but unfortunately I was prevented from making 
my New Year calls, and during all these long years I have been 
regretting the loss of that delicious coffee which was intended as 
a compliment to my temperance principles. The reader can ap- 
preciate this point when he comes to understand that intoxicat- 
ing liquor was the universal rule, not the exception. Mrs. S. was 
in favor of every good movement to benefit the public, and 
although now a resident of another State, yet she makes her 
yearly pilgrimage to this city in order to live over again her 
young married life. 


An old straggler has just come into headquarters and reports 
that he was born in France in 1812 ; that he was in the employ 
of the French Government as a police officer for fourteen years ; 
that in 1848 he emigrated to this country and landed in New 
Orleans ; that he arrived at St. Paul in 1 849, or 36 years ago ; 
that he embarked in the Indian trade, as at that early period 
there were only a few houses where now stands St. Paul, and 
the balance of the population was made up of red men who 
occupied a good many tepees. He states that then there were 
hills, and valleys, and running streams, and brush, and trees, 
and rocks, where this city now rises into greatness and into gran- 
deur, and that nobody could even imagine at that early day that 
St. Paul could by any possibility grow into a respectable sized 
village, to say nothing of a city of 1 20,000 people ! and yet, he 
says, here it is. And look at 

the contrast. 

There, nestling in modesty on Sixth street, and meditating 
on the past, is a little one story and a half French building, the 
oldest dwelling house in the city of St. Paul, while just to the 
right of it, fronting on Robert street, is the elegant seven-story 
edifice of the Chamber of Commerce, and diagonally across from 


this fine specimen of architecture rises into majesty and into 
beauty the new $1,000,000 hotel! The httle brown house now 
forty-six years old, looks out upon the scene with wonderment! 
When it first reared its head into civilization, how proud and 
grand it was ! How it loomed up against the board shanties and 
wigwams of decaying barbarism ! How the owner and his wife — 
both gone into the land of dreams — praised, and petted, and 
admired it ! How visitors snugged down in its cozy parlor and 
laughed at the beating storm that howled on the outside ! How 
the green vines twined their loving arms about its broad, square, 
good-natured face and peeked in at the window ! And how little 
children gazed up in awe at its massive height! Poor little, hum- 
ble nobody now ! You live only in the shadows of the "great 
buildings that frown down upon you ! They hardly know you 
by reputation, and if they did know you they would care less 
for you! To them the past is nothing! What of to-day? What 
of next year ? and so time comes and goes, and by and by, and 
very soon too, the little old brown house will be missed from its 
accustomed place ; its old tired and wearied timbers will be car- 
ried to their long home and only history will drop a tear over its 
memory ! 

"Just so!" said the aged Frenchman, — "just so," and I saw 
a red handkerchief in his hand, and a little black speck in his 
eye, and a tear upon his cheek, and turning he gazed for a 
moment upon the little unpretending brown house and then upon 
the great mass of brick that towered heavenward on the opposite 
corner, and moving away with tottering steps, I heard him mut- 
tering — " Yes, the contrast ! — I see it ! — ^just so ! — ^just so ! " And 
his form faded, faded, faded — and was — gone — forever 1 


Mr. T. was born in Connecticut in 181 3; came to St. Paul 
in 1849; opened a tailor's shop on Third street, and continued 
the business up to 1854, when, in company with T. M. Metcalf, 
he engaged in the grocery trade in a store on Third street, near 
Wabasha, and after a continuance of several years in this busi- 
ness, gave it up and clerked for S. P. Folsom & Co., and was also 
in the Recorder's and Marshal's offices. Of late years Mr. 
Tinker has been doing very little, as he has passed three score 


and ten, and enjoys more keenly the old rocking-chair by the 
parlor stove than a tustle with the affairs of life on the outside 
with the thermometer forty degrees below zero. He purchased 
in 1 85 1 eight acres lying between Thirteenth and Fifteenth streets, 
for which he paid $284; worth now ^50,000. He is a small, 
thin man ; moderate in his movements and very quiet in his con- 
versation, and is also a man of a good deal of ability, and has 
only been waiting for an opportunity to show the world what he 
could have done — had he a chance. But it never came. 


Mr. Spicer was a tall, gaunt man, and very quiet in his ways. 
He came to St. Paul in 1849 ^^^ opened a jewelry store, prob- 
ably among the very first established in the city, and located on 
Third street. He was a person of which but little can be said, 
except that he attended to his business, was a good workman and 
a good citizen. Where born or when born I do not know, but 
if living he must be about sixty-five years of age. 


" I heard Mr. Duday speak of you yesterday in terms of 
panegyrical encomium," remarked the high-school girl to her 
dearest friend. 

*' And what did you say ? " 

" I coincided with his laudations." 

" Well, I always thought you were a friend of mine, but if 
you allow people to speak about me like that without saying a 
word, ril never speak to you again, you hateful thing. So 
there ! " 

" So there ! " kind reader, if you become offended by my 
** panegyrical encomiums," you can take revenge upon me by never 
speaking to me again. But I feel pretty safe, even if the school- 
girl did go back upon her friend. " So there." 


Mr. Groff was a painter by trade, and in early days was a 
very ardent Republican, and on the subject of politics he was 
most decided. At one time he had property in this city which 
is now quite valuable. Fate turned against him, and his health 


failing, he struggled on manfully ; was at one time a member of 
the drug firm of Wren, Groff & Regally, finally began the man- 
ufacture of what is now known as the Snow-Flake Baking Pow- 
der, and when fully perfected, he died. The receipt for making 
the same passed into the hands of his son Charles, and Mr. 
Groff's name is now found in many a household. He was a man 
of ordinary size ; somewhat irritable over the mishaps of life, yet 
generous and good-hearted. He was born near Troy, N. Y., in 
1821 ; educated there, and taught school in Kentucky and Vir- 
ginia ; came to St. Paul in 1 849 ; ran the old Mississippi House 
for a time; dealt in real estate; in company with others laid out 
and was an owner in the town sites of Carver, Belle Plaine, and 
other places ; was landlord of the Snelling House ; aided in issu- 
ing a directory ; was a broker for a year or so on Jackson street ; 
started the Snow-Flake Baking Powder in 1862; died in 1876, 
aged fifty-five years. His son, Charles R. Groff, now carries on 
the business on a large scale. 

p. p. BISHOP. 

Mr. Bishop was a young lawyer of considerable ability and 
possessed a great amount of splendid mother-wit. He figured in 
early days with such men as E. Rice, HoUinshead, Becker, etc., 
and took rank with any of them. He was a cousin of the late 
Mrs. McConkey, nee Miss Harriet Bishop, and was noted for his 
unusually bright and talented mind. He was born in Vermont 
in 1825; received a good education and graduated at college; 
studied law and came to St. Paul in 1849, where he practiced his 
profession. In a letter to Gov. Marshall, his old friend, he writes : 

** Twelve years of my life — from the age of twenty to the age of thirty-two^ 
were thrown away for the most part, because I kept no remote eqd in view, and 
maintained no paramount rule of conduct, but permitted myself to be governed by 
the impulses which happened to be stirred within me." 

Conscious of this fact, Mr. Bishop decided to become a 
Christian, and so announced his decision at "a little prayer-meeting 
in the Baptist Church" of this city, and following this he took a 
two-years' course of study in the Theological Department of tbe 
Madison University ; graduated in 1858; married Miss Sophia 
M. Lathrop, of Hamilton, N. Y. ; settled as a pastor of the Bap- 
tist Church at Burlington, la.; was pastor of the First Baptist 


Church of Auburn, N. Y,, from i860 to 1868 ; went from thence 
on account of ill-health, as general missionary for the State of 
Florida; in 1872 closed his engagement with the missionary 
society ; purchased 6,000 acres of a wild orange grove on credit ; 
enlisted capital; has done well, and his income is now;^5,ooo per 
year above the interest money paid upon the land. In 1 876 he 
took a very active part against the carpet-baggers in Florida, and 
was elected to the Legislature ; attended the last two Democratic 
conventions, and could have been elected to Congress if he had 
consented to serve. He is in a good condition financially and 
fills up his spare time with literary labors. I did not know Mr. 
Bishop personally, but all his old Minnesota friends will be 
glad to read this flattering account of his checkered career. 


Was born in 1 819, at Windham, Connecticut, and received 
his early education there. When a young man he was employed 
much of the time as agent for new publications and traveled 
extensively throughout the New England and the Middle States. 
At the commencement of the Mexican campaign he entered Com- 
pany H, Fifth Infantry, and served through the war; came to 
St. Paul from New Orleans in 1849 ; was commission merchant; 
had a store near the upper steamboat landing, and had charge 
of two warehouses there; left St. Paul in the fall of 1852 and 
went to Kasota, where he made a claim before the treaty was 
ratified and while Red Iron's band of Indians was still there ; 
in the spring of 1853 he laid out the town of Kasota; built a 
saw mill, and in company with George Marsh, now of Mankato, 
obtained a contract to carry the mail from St. Paul to Sioux 
City for three years. Financially he never recovered fully from 
the crash of 1857. He opened the Kasota stone quarries in 
1869, and died at his residence in Kasota on the 15th of Febru- 
ary, 1882, aged sixty-three years. 

Mr. Babcock was a man of medium size ; very active and 
had a habit of shrugging his shoulders and hitching up his pants. 
He was full of business, but adverse circumstances overtook him 
as they overtook many others, and he went down in the financial 
crash of 1857, and never fully gained his feet. He has a son, 


who succeeded his father in the stone quarry business, and who 
resides at Kasota. 


Mr. Semper was born in Canada in 1844; came to St. Paul 
in 1849, or thirty-six years ago, and was educated here ; enhsted 
in Brackett's BatalHon and served through the war ; also went 
out with Capt. Fisk on his trip to Montana, and when Fisk of- 
fered a reward of $2$ for the first Indian scalp. Semper brought 
it in with the head attached ; he at one time lived at Little Can- 
ada ; then for eight years was in the employ of Day & Jenks ; 
also in that of the late H. B. Harwood, Wyman & Mullen, and 
finally with Lanpher, Finch & Skinner, with whom he remained 
up to his death. Mr. Semper was a heavy man, well and favor- 
ably known among the traveling men, and at one time had a 
brother in the shoe business on Third street. He was a gentle- 
man of good traits of character, kind, considerate, honest, manly. 


Son of Luke Murphy, was born at Fort Snelling in 1849; 
removed to St. Paul with his family the same year ; was edu- 
cated here and learned the trade of a painter, and is now em- 
ployed in the Manitoba paint shops. He is a bright middle-aged 
man and very worthy, and well learned in his business. 


Mrs. Stoakes was born in the State of New York in 181 2; 
lived in Western New York for some years ; resided a short time 
in Illinois, then at Prairie du Chien, when, in 1849 she came to 
St. Paul and opened a millinery store on the corner of Third 
and Washington streets, south side. She established the first 
regular millinery establishment in the city, although millinery on 
a limited scale was carried on by another party. She remained 
in the city eighteen years, when she removed to Montana in 1867, 
going by railroad and coach to Sioux City, and then by Missouri 
river to Fort Benton, and was forty-seven days on the steamer 
from Sioux City to Fort Benton. She has property in the city, 
and returns to St. Paul almost every year to give it attention 
and see her old friends. She is a woman of strong business 


characteristics, quietly spoken, and ranks among the most re- 
spected of the old settlers. She has one daughter who married 
a Mr. Cullen, a leading attorney of Montana. 


Mr, Robert is a brother of the late Capt. Louis Robert, and 
was born in Missouri in 1827; worked on a farm up to 1844; 
removed to Prairie du Chien; came to St. Paul in 1845, and was 
for a short time engaged with his brother in a store ; the same 
year went to the Red River of the North with three carts loaded 
with goods, and an Indian pony; traded there until 1849, when 
he returned to St. Paul and took charge of the transportation 
of the goods of the Winnebago Indians to Long Prairie; bought 
a store at Swan river and commenced trading ; ran it for two 
years; began freighting in 1853-4, '^^^ i^ 1^59 took a contract 
to carry goods and emigrants from St. Paul to St. Anthony, Crow 
Wing and other points in the Territory ; then bought lands in 
various parts of Minnesota, having made no money in the Indian 
trade, probably being too honest ; in 1 860 was connected with 
his brother in the Indian business. He was on his way to one 
of his brother's trading posts when he was informed that the In- 
dians had broken out and were killing the settlers. He rode out 
from New Ulm near enough to satisfy himself that this was the 
fact, when he turned and gave the settlers warning ; re-entered 
New Ulm; was a bearer of dispatches to Gen. Sibley; returned 
and was in and about New Ulm seventeen days, and engaged in 
the fight there two days. In the fall of 1 862 (speaking the Chip- 
pewa language 'eadily,) he commenced trading with that tribe 
at Mille Lac. He continued there up to 1882, when he returned 
to St. Paul, where he has remained ever since. In 1865 he went 
through to Vermillion lake for a New York company, with seven 
teams. He has always resided in St. Paul with his family, from 
1849 up to 1885, though he has at different times been abseh-. on 
business, and spends his summers at his country residence on the 
shores of Bald Eagle lake. 


In 1884 Mr. Robert visited Washington and spent two 
months fighting for the rights of the Indians, as a decision had 


been made that the whites had a right to go on to the Indian res- 
ervation and make homesteads. It was through Mr. Robert's 
influence that this decision was revoked, and now he finds that 
the white settlers who went on to the land in good faith under the 
decision of the government, are ordered to leave without any 
redress, and he thinks this a great wrong ; that their money 
ought to be refunded and they recompensed for their loss. And 
Mr. Robert is right. - 


In 1845, or forty years ago, Mr. Robert ploughed a field of 
about twenty acres then fenced, running from Third street back 
to nearly Sixth street, and from half way to Minnesota one way 
and half way to Jackson the other, and in this field he planted 
oats and raised a good crop. The street where he raised the oats 
has just been paved. The twenty acres cost his brother about 
;^300; worth now upward of $2,000,000! At this time there 
were about ten families in the place, and not to exceed fifty white 
people. Mr. Robert has been an important interpreter for the 
Chippewa Indians; was elected Alderman of St. Paul in 1881, 
and re-elected in 1883, serving two terms ; was on the park com- 
mittee, and was also on the committee appointed to receive Villard 
and President Arthur. He is a tall, muscular man, somewhat 
commanding in his appearance, well preserved physically and dif- 
fering from an ordinary Frenchman in that he is moderate in his 
conversation and in his manners, and yet he is a man of activity 
and great endurance, as a checkered life of some forty years in 
Minnesota clearly shows. He is social, pleasant, honest; a great 
friend of the Indians and a great friend of humanity generally. 




Mrst Mayor— Fir?t Brick Store— First Thanksgiving— First Theatricals— First 

Bowling Alley — First Lithograph — First Express — First Messenger — 

First Fresh and Shell Oysters — First Photographer — First Carbon Oil — 

First Fire — First Church Bell — First Court House — First Episcopal 

Church — First Directory — First Appearance of Cholera — 

First Presbyterian Church Organized — First Term of 

Court in Ramsey County — First President Chamber 

of Co miner ce — First Daguerrean Artist — 

Embracing all the Events and 

Incidents of this Year. 

NEW year's calls BALLS. 

The first of the year opened up auspiciously for the intro- 
duction of the social amenities of life. New Year's calls were 
very generally indulged in and many a side-board glistened with 
free entertainment, which at the present day would make the 
ordinary tramp smack his lips. The people began to put on 
style. On the evening of January i, 1850, a ball was giv^en at 
the Central House, which building then stood on Bench street, 
at the foot of Robert, and was attended by one hundred gentle- 
men, and almost as many ladies. On the 22d of February, or 
Washington's birthday, another ball was given at the American 
House, which eclipsed all previous attempts in this line. A band 
of music was in attendance, and about eighty persons enjoyed 
the occasion. In fact all through the winter of 1850 balls and 
social festivities ruled the hour. 



I find no remarkable events transpiring during the year 
1850. The place then was celebrated as it is now for its great 
number of lawyers, tliere being at this time twenty-five. In 
November, 1849, the First Presbyterian Church was organized, 
with Rev. E, D. Neill as pastor, one of Minnesota's best known 
old pioneers, and the church began this year to assume form 
and shape. Three schools were also in progress. The Legis- 
lature met for the second time in January, 1850, in the old Rice 
House, Third street, corner Washington, now occupied by Metro- 
politan hotel. The first term of court for Ramsey County was 
held. Mr. Neill's chapel was burned in April. Population, 1,290. 
Christ's Church organized ; cholera appears ; Fredricka Bremer 
visits the city ; building of Court House commenced; County 
Jail built, and the first Thanksgiving celebrated. Society seemed 
to be quietly moulding itself to civilization, and yet there are no 
startling events to make the year 1850 memorable. 


In 1850 there were sixteen post offices in the Territory of 
Minnesota; in 1883 there were 10,084 i^"! the State ; in 1850 
36,400 letters passed through our post office during the year; in 
1883 7,146,883 letters passed through the post office in the same 
length of time ; or 700 letters passed through the post office per 
week in 1850, and 137,443 passed through the post office per 
week in 1883, a gain of 136,743 per week over 1850, Letters 
then were one month on the way from Washington ; now they 
are four or five days. 


Mr. Elfelt was born in Pennsylvania in 1827 and came to 
St. Paul in 1850, or thirty-five years ago. He, with his broth- 
ers, opened the first dry-goods house in this city in 1849, he 
being then in Philadelphia and they here, and their building 
stood at the foot of Eagle street, near the upper levee, and where 
the Minnesota Soap Company now have a large establishment. 
Then, he and his brothers, in 1851, erected the present large 
building corner of Third and Exchange streets. This at the 


time it was erected, was the largest building in the city and called 
out a good many citizens to aid in lifting the frame. The upper 
part of the building was known as Mazourka Hall, and in this 
hall the first theatrical representations in the city were given. 
The glass, and nails, and paints used, were transported 800 
miles, and laborers were paid five dollars per day. The building 
at first was stocked with dry-goods and groceries, but subse- 
quently was devoted exclusively to dry-goods. Mr. Elfelt con- 
tinued in the dry-goods trade for about seventeen years, when he 
became interested in real estate and has more or less ever since 
followed this branch of business. He originated the first Board 
of Trade, in 1864, and was one of the first directors, and on that 
being merged into the Chamber of Commerce he became a 
member of that body and subsequently a director. He has spent 
a great deal of his time gratuitously in fostering immigration, 
sending away pamphlets, etc., and has taken especial interest in 
the building and completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad, 
having great faith that this line of road would add to the devel- 
opment of the city and the State. As a mark of appreciation the 
Chamber of Commerce passed unanimously a vote of thanks to 
Mr. Elfelt for his labors in behalf of immigration. In 1850 Mr. 
Elfelt purchased sixteen lots for ;$8oo, which he still owns ; worth 
now ;^ 2 5,000. 


He is a small man with black hair and whiskers, and speaks 
quite earnestly. He usually wears a silk hat, sometimes eye-glass- 
es, and is uniformly neat in his dress. He is enthusiastically inter- 
ested in everything that will advance the interests of St. Paul. 
For thirty-five years he has traveled the streets of St. Paul and 
has seen the growth of the city from mere nothing to what it is 
to-day. He is quiet, gentlemanly, full of good humor, smokes 
a good deal, always ready to talk, but when he talks it is with 
great earnestness. He is kind-hearted, very sympathetic, and is 
just the kind of man to possess a fortune, for I know if he had 
it he would do a great deal of good with it. He is an honorable 
gentleman, frank, social, impulsive, and is universally esteemed 
for his many good qualities. Mr. E. holds ^t present no public 
position except that he is a life member of the Historical Society, 



and was the first to contribute towards the purchase of a lot now 
owned by the association. 


The Winnebago Indians became dissatisfied with their reser- 
vation this year, and visited Gov. Ramsey to '* talk " over the 
matter. A grand council was held in a large warehouse in this 
city, and among some of the most noted braves thus gathered, 
Gov. Ramsey took his place as '' the noblest Roman of them 
all." After matters had been amicably adjusted to the satisfac- 
tion of the chiefs, the Governor arose and in his bland and most 
genial manner, impressed upon the savages the importance of 
leaving whisky alone and becoming a temperance people, and in 
order to clinch his argument he said — " The white man has 
quit drinking ! — in a great measure ! " The interpreter made 
him say, " in a large-sized vessel," when one of the old chiefs 
exclaimed — " That may be very true, but Indian see white man 
drink out of small measure very often." The Governor turned 
and remarked — "That may possibly be correct! — the Indian 
may possibly be right ; he probably is, but then the Indian 
should be careful and avoid the bad habits of the whites, not 
imitating them in any measure, especially in this matter of 
whisky drinking." It was a neat affair all around, and highly 
edifying to the Indian traders and interpreters, who, of course, 
were strictly temperance men, and who were rejoiced to find the 
Governor on their side ! 


Taylor was a colored man, and if my memory serves me he 
was a barber. At any rate he was a good performer on the fid- 
dle or violin, and was a great favorite at balls and parties. He 
was a fine-looking fellow, large, portly, well-dressed, easy in his 
manners, and possessed of a pleasant and musical voice. " Bal- 
ance partners," would echo through the hall like the sweet strains 
from an /Eolian harp, and everybody was happy when ** Bill Tay- 
lor " did the calling. He was a general favorite among his own 
people, and was very much liked by the whites. He lived just 
back of the jail on Fifth street, where his widow did reside until 
1885, when she sold to Mr. Capchart for $8,030 and the old 


homestead has gone. Taylor, like many others, always attended 
the Indian payments, and while at Yellow Medicine in 1862, 
waiting for the money to arrive, the Indians, under Little Crow, 
made their outbreak and he was killed. Many old settlers remem- 
ber Bill Taylor and all will regret his untimely end. He came 
to St. Paul, I think, in 1850. 


While this harmless old Indian woman had been in the habit 
of visiting St. Paul several years previous to 1850, yet she 
became a sort of fixture in the city that year, that is, she was 
among the whites oftener than usual, and was more generally 
known, in fact might be rightly called one of the old settlers. 
Her Sioux name was Aza-ya-man-ka-wan, or Berry Picker. She 
was born near Mendota in 1788 ; died at Mendota in 1873, aged 
eighty-five years ; was married to Iron Sword ; had several child- 
ren ; one became a Christian, and a daughter, I believe, now lives 
in St. Paul. One of her brothers was a famous warrior, prophet 
and medicine man, by the name of He-in-da-koo. And this 
reminds me of the following original Indian legend of Old Bets, 
which is founded on facts in her early life, gleaned from an old 
Indian in 1862, and which appears in a volume by the writer, 
entitled " Thrilling Scenes Among the Indians." I reproduce it 
for the benefit of my readers. 

OLD bets. 

(Aza-Ya-Man-Ka-Wan ; or Berry Picker.) 

The familiar face of old Bets used to peer in upon my vision 
for about twenty years, when all of a sudden it disappeared, and 
the news came that she was dead. Very few who met her wrink- 
led face, her laughing eyes, her grotesque figure, or heard her 
whining voice asking for '* kosh-poppy," or money, knew of the 
romantic history attached to that old squaw, as she almost daily 
paraded the streets of St. Paul and sold her moccasins or 
begged for aid ! The weight of years, the burden of trouble, 
silent grief, patient suffering, all leave their impress behind, and 
the Indian is not exempt from this general law. Who knows or 
can divine the history of that old man, tottering under the load 
of a life of suffering ? Who could realize that in his early days he 


stole the hearts of women, electrified men, and moved the masses 
with his oratory ? Now, old and decrepid, how useless ! Who 
could imagine, even, the early triumphs, the bewitching beauty, 
the incomparable charms of that young girl, who, threading 
life's thoroughfare, drew after her hundreds of admirers ? now 
that bent-over, gray-haired, bowed-down form ; how changed ! 
So each and every one has a history, and must in turn pass out 
of youth, and vigor, and beauty, and manhood, and woman- 
hood, into the silent, stealthy tread of old age, groping down the 
valley of death, hoping to catch a glimpse on the other shore of 
that light which burns forever! The Indian race is not an excep- 
tion to the general rule. 

Old Bets was once young and handsome, and she drew after 
her many admirers. Born at the confluence of two rivers — the 
Mississippi and the Minnesota — her childhood was passed among 
the scenes of her final death ; but her early girlhood was out 
among the wild scenery of her tribe, where danger confronted 
the red men of the plains and acts of valor crowned the warrior 
with undying fame ! Young Bets was greatly loved among her 
tribe, not only for her beauty but for her kind disposition, as 
well as for her bravery ; so it came to pass that a young man 
who had won great renown on the battle field, sought the hand 
of the young girl in marriage, and in turn she looked upon his 
attentions with favor. Her brother, however, being himself a 
w^arrior and a medicine man, objected to the match upon the 
ground that his sister's suitor had, in the past, wronged him, and 
he declared he should never darken the door of his tepee, even 
if he did — as he was willing to — make amends for the injury 

The merry laugh of the Indian maiden gradually died away. 
Her joyous nature turned to soberness, as she thought of the 
young heart which beat only for her, and in turn, before she was 
aware of it, her tenderest feelings were wrapped up in the welfare 
of the young and ardent lover, whose image had become a part 
of her own existence. She besought her brother to forgive the 
young warrior. She assured him that her happiness depended 
upon her union with him ; but the stolid face, the hardened heart 
would not relax, and she turned away with great sorrow and 


entered the forest, where unexpectedly she met Chig-go-nia, her 
best and dearest friend. Here their interview terminated with a 
solemn resolve to die for each other, and on the morrow the two 
were to quietly meet, bid good-by to old associations, and 
mounted on ponies, pass away west as man and wife. 

With the rising of the sun the young and lovely berry-picker 
had fled, and with her Chig-go-nia. Her brother, whose name 
was He-in-da-koo, was soon aware of what had occurred, and 
mounted on one of his fleetest horses, and well armed, he started 
out in pursuit. About noon he overtook the flying couple, who, 
conscious of his desperate hatred and unrelenting ferocity, re- 
doubled their speed ; the warrior, however, gained upon them 
until they were all soon together and speeding rapidly over 
the plain. Young Bets' brother rode in front, and drawing 
his horse's head across the path of the lover, sought to cut him 
down with his tomahawk. His sister pleaded for his life, but see- 
ing that her pleadings were all in vain, she reined in her pony, 
brought him close to the side of her lover, and with one spring 
from her animal, she landed in his lap. With one arm about the 
waist of his love, the young man fought bravely for his life, but 
encumbered with the maiden he fought to great disadvantage, 
when, all of a sudden his antagonist struck him with his toma- 
hawk on the head from behind, and the young man sank to the 
earth, and in the arms of his sweet-heart breathed out his last 
farewell. The maiden was carried back into camp, and though 
she subsequently married a man of note in her tribe, yet the great 
sorrow of her early love never left her, and traces of that sorrow 
could be seen upon her face even in her old age as she trudged 
up and down our streets. 

For many years this inoffensive old woman became a marked 
character, both to our citizens and to strangers. I remember 
her as the possessor of a wrinkled face, peculiar eyes, disheveled 
hair, large mouth, exposed neck, uncouth form ; but always with 
Tier cheerful " ho-ho," and she plodded along under the weight of 
years and of her great sorrow. She was a kind and devoted 
friend to the whites, and before her death became quite poor, but 
it is a credit to humanity to be able to state, that she was aided 
by pecuniary help from our citizens, and finally died in the Chris- 


tian belief and was accorded a Christian burial in the place of 
her birth, and where she had spent the best portion of her life. 


Born in Vermont in 1822, Mr. Olmsted followed the Winne- 
bagoes to Long Prairie, having for many years previously en- 
gaged in the Indian trade, where he established a store, and also 
another in this city in the year 1848. He came to reside per- 
manently in St. Paul in 1853, but previous to this, in 1849, while 
off and on in the city, he was elected a member of the first Ter- 
ritorial Council of Minnesota, and was chosen president of that 
body. He was also in the Council of 185 1, so that I can justly 
class him as among the citizens of the city in 1850. In 1853 he 
gave up his Indian trade and purchased of Col. D. A. Robertson 
the Minnesota Democrat office, which was in a white wooden 
building standing on the corner of Third and Wabasha streets, 
now known as the McQuillan block. Judge Nelson at one time 
owned this same printing office. Olmsted edited the Democrat 
until 1854, when he sold out and was elected first Mayor of St. 
Paul. He removed to Winona in 1855, and that year was nom- 
inated for Congress, H. M. Rice being his opponent on the Dem- 
ocratic ticket, and Wm. R. Marshall running as a Republican, 
who was defeated. Soon after this, his health failing him, he 
sailed for Cuba, where he remained one winter; but getting no 
better, he returned home and died in 1861, aged thirty-nine years. 
Olmsted County is named after him. 


Mr. Olmsted was a well-built man; pleasant in his address; 
quiet in his manners ; sensible in his speech ; naturally polite, 
and a real gentleman, somewhat like Edmund Rice. He had a 
large head with heavy, shaggy eyebrows, and when he addressed 
his fellow-men it was with an air of equality, not with an air of 
superiority. His voice was low and pleasing, and a quiet, sub- 
dued smile played upon his features. He never ranted ; his temper 
was uniform ; his movements dignified, and yet he was approach- 
able by every one. The serenity of his nature and the true ele- 
ments which make a man, won for him many friends. St. Paul 
may well be proud of her first mayor. He was a man of a good 


deal of solid ability, appealing more to reason and to argument 
than to tinselry or demagogism, to carry his case. As an illus- 
tration, he was an old-time Democrat, but he could not endure 
slavery, so he ran for Congress on the anti-Nebraska ticket, and 
of course was defeated. At the age of twenty-four years he was a 
member of the convention which framed the constitution for 
Iowa, and in every public position which he held in Minnesota 
he was noted for his good common sense and his love of fairness 
and justice. As an editor he adorned the profession, as a mayor 
he honored the city, as a man his memory is revered and 


The first bowling alley was a rough boarded building on the 
south side of Third street, upper town, overlooking the river. 
The interior was as rough as the exterior and somewhat after the 
fashion of '' Monk Hall," of which I have already written. 

In 1850 a celebrated law firm in this city had a brand-new 
Bible with an elegant cover on it, and feeling that no lawyer's 
ofifice was complete without the word of God in it, one of the 
firm stripped off the expensive cover and had it bound in calf, so 
that it is now dressed in the same garb as the law books belong- 
ing to the firm. The elegant lids of the Bible were used to cover 
up decisions in divorce cases, and was thoroughly read by every 
lady who patronized the establishment. The word of God in calf 
externally looked like the twin-brother of Blackstone, but in many 
other respects greatly resembled the owner of the book — at least 
in the binding ! 


Mr. Brown was born in Maryland in 1805, and had he lived 
to this time he would have been eighty years old. He died in 
New York in 1870, or fifteen years ago, aged sixty-five years. 
His father was a local Methodist Episcopal minister, and in early 
years Joseph was put to learn the printer's trade, but becoming 
dissatisfied from what he alleges was cruel treatment, he ran 
away and enlisted in the army and came to Fort Snelling as a 
drummer boy in 1819, or sixty-six years ago, at which time he 
was about fourteen years of age. He left the army somewhere 
in the years 1825 or 1828, and engaged in the lumbering and 


Indian business. He came to St. Paul to reside permanently in 
1850, although he had been in the city off and on for a year or 
more. He married a Dakota woman, and at the time I first met 
him had a family of six or eight children. In the early days, 
before the existence of Minnesota, he was appointed a justice of 
the peace in Wisconsin ; was also elected a member of the Leg- 
islature of that State for three years ; was a prominent member 
of the convention which took steps to organize Minnesota into a 
Territory; was Secretary of the Territorial Council after Minne- 
sota became a Territory, during the years 1849 and 1851 ; was 
Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives in 1853; member 
of the Council (or Senate) in 1854 and 1855 ; of the House in 
1857, and Territorial Printer in 1853-4; was also an influential 
member of the Constitutional Convention, and chairman of the 
committee appointed to canvass the votes on the adoption of the 
constitution; was appointed Indian agent in 1857, ^^^ ^^ man 
ever dealt more fairly or honestly with the red men than Joseph 
R. Brown. 

At the time I met him he was largely engaged in the Indian 
trade; had laid out Henderson as a town-site and was running 
a stage-line to it ; had purchased the Pioneer of the estate of 
James M. Goodhue in 1852, and was conducting the affairs of his 
political, or rather Democratic party, while he had conceived the 
idea in his brain of a huge steam wagon, which was to traverse 
the prairies loaded with goods for the frontier, for he was always 
reaching out beyond the confines of civilization into the remote 
portions of barbaric life. Having let go his hold on the Pioneer 
he started the Democrat at Henderson in the year 1857; and 
from thence he and his family drifted into what is known as 
Brown's Valley, a beautiful country at present adorned with ele- 
gant farms. When Mr. Brown came to St. Paul he purchased 
the property now known as Kittson's addition, for ^150 — worth 
to-day several millions. It is alleged that he sold the lot where 
Raugh's saloon used to stand, on Third street, now occupied by Mr. 
Jones, for a box of cigars, the present value being about ;^2 5,000. 
He had but little appreciation of money only so far as it was a 
means of effecting certain ends, and these ends usually were the 
advancement of the human race. 



The traveler who passes over the great plains of Dakota, 
sees here and there a sage-bush and sometimes a small sapling, 
and then, all of a sudden his vision falls on a great butte, or rock, 
which, rising out of the prairie in huge proportions, looms up 
against the sky and throws its shadows for miles in the distance. 
What nature presents on our plains is illustrated in the career of 
the human race. The great mass of the people resemble sage- 
brush, with here and there a tree of a larger growth, but capping 
all, and overlooking all, and overshadowing all, rises the great 
man, who, in his rugged characteristics resembles nature's land- 
mark, for he stands prominently out from his fellow-men clearly 
defined and clearly seen. Such was Major Joseph R. Brown, 
the subject of this sketch. Coming to Minnesota early, and 
having been intimately associated with Mr, Brown in editing the 
Pioneer for six months, I am, perhaps, as well able to speak of 
his peculiar traits of character as any man living. I have stated 
in previous articles that I landed at the levee at St. Paul in the 
year 1853, determined to make this city my future home, and 
what more natural than that I should seek a place in my own 
profession ? So I entered the Minitcsotian office on Third street, 
and there met Owens and Moore, and to my application, " Do 
you want a * devil,' or a printer, or an assistant editor, or an edi- 
tor-in-chief? " came back the curt answer, " No ! " I trudged up 
Third street to the corner of Wabasha, where the old Democrat 
was then printed ; entered the office and there met David Olm- 
sted, with his great, shaggy eyebrows and his big head, and 
George W. Armstrong, with his pleasant face and red hair, and 
in response to my question for work, a modified and pleasing 
answer greeted me ** No ! " I trudged over Third street, passed 
by a one story and a half wooden building where Ingersoll block 
now stands, walked down Bench street a short distance and en- 
tered the office of the Pioneer. I stood in the presence of Joseph 
R. Brown. At this time Mr. Brown was a good-sized man, then 
about fifty years of age, with a sharp Roman nose, clear-cut 
features, hair somewhat long and gently curling, head tending to 
baldness, wore an open stand-up collar lying loosely about his 
neck, and presented an appearance which at once denoted some- 


thing above the ordinary man. His chin was prominent and his 
Hps thin, and when he spoke his eyes dilated, and when done 
speaking he made a noise between a sneeze and a cough, pro- 
duced by a catarrhal affection, with which he had long been 

" Mr. Brown," I said, " I called to inquire if you wished any 
one to assist you." He turned square around from his writing 
and with a pleasant smile, answered — " Well, by George, I think 
I do." " I guess I can suit you ; I have been in the printing busi- 
ness for myself; know all the ins and outs of the profession," I 
remarked, when he fixed his strong, bright eyes upon me and 
asked — " What do you consider your services worth ? " to which 
I replied — " Fix your own terms." ** I want a man to assist me 
here," he replied, "to take entire charge of the paper when I am 
gone ; and so you think you can perform the labor ? " I told him I 
certainly thought I could, when he agreed to pay me ;^30 per 
week, and I was then and there engaged in the old Pioneer office, 
in 1853, or thirty-two years ago. 


I remember many pleasant incidents in the life of Mr. Brown, 
all of which go to make up the real character of the man. He was 
a person of great energy and great industry and great vitality, 
and with an evenness of temper which I never before and never 
since have met with in my association with men ; always good- 
natured, always considerate, and I remember the fact with feel- 
ings of the liveliest emotions, that during the six months I was 
with him, I can recall no word or look that militates in the least 
degree against the memory of the lamented dead. Mr. Brown 
had the habit of saying ** By George ! " He never swore ; he 
never drank ; he never played cards ; he did smoke cigars occa- 
sionally. At times he was thoughtful, and a calm and serene 
expression would creep over his face as he no doubt sometimes 
thought of the old folks at home and of his childhood hours. 
One morning the driver of his stage to Henderson came into the 
offi'-v with a very sad face, and addressing Mr. Brown, who was 
quietly writing at my elbow, said — " The horses have run away, 
Mr. Brown, and one — one — one — of — them — is — dead!" Mr. 
Brown quietly turned around and looking up in the face of the 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 205 

distressed man, in a pleasant but by no means excited manner, 
inquired how it all happened, and when the driver had concluded 
his story. Brown simply remarked — " Well, by George ! John, if 
those horses hadn't run away, it is probable that both of them 
would have been alive now. Well, I must get another horse, by 
George ! " The effect upon the poor driver was instantaneous ; 
his eyes lightened up, his countenance assumed a different shape, 
and a great sigh came from his heart as he then and there no 
doubt resolved never to do anything in the future that would 
lose him the respect and the friendship of so good a man as 
Joseph R. Brown. 


« _ 

I entered the office one morning about 6:30 o'clock, and 
found Mr. Brown at his table writing. ** Well, Mr. Brown, you 
are pretty early this morning," I remarked, when he quietly 
said — " Yes, by George! pretty early in view of the fact that I 
have not yet been to bed." " Why, Brown, is that so? What 's 
up? " ** Oh, nothing, only I am getting up a bill for the suppres- 
sion of immorality, and I knew I would not be able to conclude 
it unless I took the night to do it in, and I have just finished it." 
The reader should bear in mind that Mr. Brown was then Terri- 
torial Printer, and that bills were considered " fat takes," inas- 
much as large slugs were placed between each line, and the 
printer was allowed one dollar per 1,000. The next day Mr. 
Brown arose in the Senate, as he was then a member of that 
body, and in his peculiar grave and honest manner, desired to 
introduce a bill for the suppression of immorality, and moved 
that it be read by its title and printed, which motion prevailed. 
The next day the bill came up and was read. It first made pro- 
vision for the suppression of liquor on the bars of steamboats — 
Brown was a temperance man ; — it then enumerated many other 
elements of immorality, and finally it resolved that to advance 
the moral character of the community no person shall be per- 
mitted to hang the under-garments of either sex on a public 
clothes-line, as such an act is detrimental to the public morals 
of the people. Of course the Senate saw the joke, and the bill 
was immediately indefinitely postponed ; but Brown had carried 


his point, the bill had been ordered printed, and his one night's 
labor on it had netted him just ^loo. 


It was Sunday morning when I sauntered up to the office 
and there met Mr. Brown, who was exercising a peculiar habit 
which he had of scratching the palm of his left hand with the 
nails of the fingers of the right, and looking very serious. 
"Good morning, Mr. Brown ; I thought you were in Henderson." 
" By George ! I wish I was across the river," he replied. " Why 
so, Mr. Brown? " " Well, my house has been burned down and 
I am getting a little anxious about my family." " How do you 
know your house has been burned ? " " Well, by George ! I saw 
it, and don't you see the smoke ? " and looking in the direction 
in which he pointed, which was then on the bluff in West St. 
Paul, sure enough, there was the smoke of his ruined home. 
The river at this time was full of ice, and it was impossible for 
the ferry-boat to run, and it was very dangerous for anybody to 
attempt to cross. Brown walked up and down the bluff for 
some time, when, all of a sudden I missed him, and casting my 
eyes down the river there he was, jumping from one cake of 
floating ice to the other at the imminent risk of his life ; now glid- 
ing down the stream ; now caught in a gorge ; now struggling 
to gain the shore ; now safe ! Several days passed before I was 
able to follow him, which I did, and found him coolly scratching 
his bare limb, with the remnant of his household goods which 
had been saved, and his wife and family about him. " By George! 
it was a narrow escape, but we are all here," said the affectionate 
father and kind husband, and I thought I saw a tear glisten in 
his eye as his children gathered around him and heard him tell 
me of the narrow escape of his family from the devouring ele- 
ments. With a brave spirit and a light heart he went to work^ 
and in a few days another home arose on the ruins of the old. 


Frank C. Shanley, who was a private in the army and who 
was also in the Indian war, writes me as follows : 

" Your notice of Mr. Brown has brought to my mind an incident which occurred 
nearly twenty-two years ago, and which ilhistrates the character of the man. It was 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 207 

at the battle of Birch Coolie, and Joe Brown's coolness and bravery took a great 
weight off my mind, for I was then young in years and inexperienced, but at the 
same time had to stand the siege. I was on guard duty at our camp when attacked, 
and happened to come up near Mr. Brown, and from what I could learn I was sure 
it meant death to all of us, but not so to him. His first words uttered in my hear- 
ing were — ' By George! we have got into a fix, boys; now we must fight to get out 
of it.' He waited a few moments, which seemed like hours to me, and then said — 
'Well, by George! I want some volunteers to run the gauntlet.' The men were on 
hand in a minute, the first one to volunteer being George Wells, for they all had con- 
fidence in Brown. ' Well, we will bridle the horses now and start,' said he, ' but 
remember, it is dangerous,' and just as he spoke a bullet hit him in the shoulder 
and stunned him for a moment, and then he i-emarked jocosely — 'Well, boys, that 
won't do. Don't waste your ammunition, but make it count, by George! ' This 
coolness, just at that time, in the beginning of the fight, may be considered as sav- 
ing us all, for a stampede was imminent, as the men were sick and disgusted with 
the horrible scenes and the odor from the decomposed bodies, which came up from 
every side, and having been deprived of sleep, they were in a good condition to get 
wild and run. Joe Brown, in not losing his head upon this occasion, saved the 
camp, and, of course, saved our lives." 

brown's steam wagon. 

It was an earnest desire on the part of Mr. Brown to bring 
to perfection a steam wagon which would be able to traverse our 
extensive prairies and draw after it immense loads of goods both 
for the Indian and the settler. To this end he had one made 
which resembled very much the present huge steam roller now 
in use on our streets by the city, and started it across the 
plains ; but it broke down and so did Brown financially, and the 
matter for the tiriie being was abandoned. Parts of the machin- 
ery of this novel invention lay upon the prairies for years, and 
it was for the purpose of perfecting this invention that the inven- 
tor went East in 1870, but never returned alive. No doubt the 
idea which produced the present street roller originated in the 
brain of Joseph R. Brown. 


It will be remem.bered by my readers, that in the year 1853 
the question of permitting or not permitting slavery into our 
Territories, was then agitating the country. Brown was absent 
at his trading post and I wrote an editorial committing the 
paper to the anti-slavery part of the discussion, and the next 
day in came Gov. W. A. Gorman with a huge book under his 
arm, his gold-headed cane in his hand, and little Jack Morgan 


by his side. Gorman, in austere terms for which he was noted, 
wanted to know, in a dignified manner, who wrote that article ? 
I pleaded guilty to the charge. Gorman replied — " Well, sir, by 

G , sir, you have ruined the Democratic party, sir," and then 

he unfolded the leaves of his great book and sought to demon- 
strate by a record of the past, that slavery was right and ought to 
have the privilege of going where it pleased on the public domain, 
to which, of course, " Our Little Jack " earnestly assented. It 
was a tight spot to put me in, but I squeezed out of it and waited 
the return of the editor, who, I felt sure, would be very angry, 
and possibly dispense with my services. Brown came and the 
first words were — " By George ! you have got me into a close 
corner. How came you to put that article in ? " I explained 
the affair to him as best I could, when, without another word he 
sat down and wrote a very adroit article rectifying the matter, 
and then reading it to me, he remarked — " I guess that will save 
the Democratic party," and it did, for both Gorman and Morgan 
were satisfied and Brown laughed over the weakness of human 


Rugged in his nature, uncultivated by the schools, unassisted 
by early advantages, unaided by wealth or moulded by refined 
society, Joseph R. Brown rises head and shoulders above his fel- 
low-men, both in those traits of character which mark the true 
man, and in those other traits of character which mark the true 
genius. His mind was broad and grasping and progressive. 
His heart was kind, and large and generous. His nature was 
cool, serene, hopeful. He carved out his own fortune ; he has 
written his own name indelibly upon the rock of truth and man- 
hood, and there it will remain forever. 


" God bless you, my old friend ! " was the salutation of Mr. 
Brown to the writer in the Merchants hotel in the year 1 870, and 
he grasped my hand with a warmth of friendship, the memory 
of which time can never efface. ** I am going East to perfect 
my steam wagon; am a little ahead financially through ni}' 
Indian agency, and by George ! I think I am now all right," and 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 209 

drawincT me to the bar he did that which I never knew him to do 
before — call for a glass of wine, and we drank the parting cup ; 
he to go East ; I to go West — to part forever. And soon after 
came the sad news, " Brown is dead ! " But like another great 
man who passed away before he did, Brown *' still lives " — not 
only in the history of Minnesota, but in the memory of all those 
who knew him intimately and who cherish his good deeds and 
his noble character. 


The first fresh oysters were brought to this section of coun- 
try by Governor Ramsey, in kegs from Chicago, in February, 
1850. Previous to this date cove oysters had been imported, but 
the credit of introducing the fresh fruit belongs to the Governor. 
When I contemplate the immense number of oysters now used 
in this State, and the immense sums necessary in procuring them, 
I can realize the force of the expression, " Tall oaks from little 
acorns grow." 


Every old settler will remember Cole Martin, who, in early 
days with King Cole led the social male circle in this city. Cole 
was as much a man in St. Paul in his way twenty-five years 
ago, as the late Sam. Ward was in Washington. King Cole is 
dead, but Cole Martin still lives and flourishes in the Capital of 
the nation. He was born in Virginia in 1828; removed to Indi- 
ana; enlisted in the Mexican war in 1840, and remained in the 
army two years ; came to St. Paul in 1 848 ; was absent two years ; 
returned in 1850, from which year I date his residence, and 
remained up to 1858, when he removed to Washington, where 
he has ever since resided. His first visit to St. Paul in twenty- 
four years was made last summer. 

"the hippodrome" FIRST CLUB-HOUSE. 

Cole Martin and King Cole established the first club-house 
in the city, which stood on the corner of Fourth and Robert 
streets, where the German-American bank now is. Here could 
be found the very finest liquors in the Northwest displayed on 
tempting side-boards, and taken ad libitum by members of the 
club. Plere, too, were social " sit-downs," which, in those early 


days were considered highly proper appendages to society. Here^ 
too, were served up some very fine dishes, and partaken of by 
epicurean palates. The faro-bank in those days was the only 
bank upon which capitalists could make a run, and around the 
** Hippodrome " gathered the wealth and the bon-ton of the city. 


"Cole" Martin owned a horse called the "Black Hawk," 
and Willoughby owned an apparently old broken-down stage 
animal, called " Sleepy." Willoughby made a bet that " Sleepy " 
could clean out "Black Hawk." "Cole" took the bet. The 
distance was twenty miles ; to St. Anthony, around the St. Charles 
hotel, and back. Great excitement prevailed ; immense bets for 
those days were made, and the road from St. Paul to St. Anthony 
was literally alive with vehicles, men on horseback and pedes- 
trians. " Black Hawk " started out nimbly, and many bets were 
made on him, but old " Sleepy " came in ahead to the great mor- 
tification of the owner of the animal and those who had bet on 
his favorite steed. It was the old story over again of being 
deceived by appearances, but it was a memorable event in the 
history of "Cole" Martin, and occurred in the year 1855. 

Mr. Martin was tall, slender, gentlemanly, elegantly dressed, 
fine looking, and in his profession the soul of honor. He was a 
great favorite with the ladies, and indeed I may say with the 
gentlemen. He was early left an orphan and has only one 
brother living, E. F. Martin, who formerly carried on business 
on Jackson street, in this city. Jim Vincent, Charlie Henniss, 
Andy Shearer, Cole Martin, King Cole, were peculiar characters 
who flourished in the days of the past, only one of whom still 
lives, "Cole" Martin. 


Mr. Stees was born in Pennsylvania in 1826; came to St. 
Paul in 1850; purchased of a man by the name of Frost his 
small furniture store which stood on the corner of Third and 
Minnesota streets, and established what was the first regular 
furniture outfit in this city, with which Mr. Stees has been con- 
nected for the past thirty-four years, and then only retiring in 
consequence of ill-health. He paid for the corner lot upor^ which 


his establishment stood, fifty feet on Third street by one hundred 
and fifty on Minnesota, ;^500 — worth now $75,000. Mr. Hunt 
went into partnership with Mr. Stees and continued for several 
years, when he opened a livery stable. As trade increased new 
buildings were added to the old furniture store, until it is now 
one of the largest establishments of the kind in the Northwest. 
Just back of his original store was a building in which he lived, 
and beyond this, on Minnesota street, was the Catholic burial 


In these early days it was common for the Indians to pounce 
into the kitchen of the lady of the house, and clean out her 
larder of all that was in it. I do not mean to say that they 
would steal, but they begged so hard and so audaciously, that it 
was equivalent to it. Of course the whites gave cheerfully 
because it was for their interests to do so, beside they desired to 
keep on the good side of the red men so if possible to avoid an 
outbreak. One day while Mrs. Stees was scrubbing her floor, 
(and in the early times they were glad to have floors,) several 
Indians pushed into her kitchen and seeing a large dish of 
chicken and pig feed, (the latter composed somewhat of dish- 
water,) and supposing it was for them, seized it, sat down upon 
the wet floor, and before the good woman could make any pro- 
testation, had swallowed the whole, and then smacking their lips 
and grunting, left the premises. That night the chickens went 
to roost without supper, and the pigs squealed, until morning for 
something to eat. The next day, about the same hour, the same 
Indians made their appearance, but the rooster crowed, the hens 
cackled, the pigs grunted, for their mistress had circumvented the 
Indians by giving her dumb family an early meal. Once again 
the Indians gathered at the hospitable kitchen, and this time Mrs. 
Stees had thoughtlessly left her dishwater in a huge pot on the 
stove, and it was luke-warm. Mr. Indians seized and drank it 
before the presiding genius of the kitchen knew they were pres- 
ent. They soon after left, and were heard to exclaim — " Me heap 
sick," and the general contortions of their features clearly showed 
that they were telling the truth. They " threw up " this kind of 
a job and never visited the family again. 


Two hundred acres of land lying upon Lake Phelan, were 
purchased by Mr. Stees in 1857, for $4,000, and he lived there 
from that date until last year, when he purchased the Heather 
mansion, just off of Summit avenue, where he now resides. His 
200 acres are worth $100,000, and this is putting the property at 
only $500 per acre. 


Mr. Stees gives a very amusing account of a threatened 
burning-in-efifigy case, in which our worthy Gov. Ramsey was 
the principal figure. It seems that the Governor would not com- 
ply with the demands of a certain party to do a certain thing, so 
they threatened to burn him in effigy, and Ramsey declared they 
should not do it ; so he marshaled his friends and armed them, 
and arming himself, waited for the contest. Ramsey was some 
thirty-fiv^e years younger than he is now, and his Scotch-German 
blood was aroused to its highest pitch. He buckled on his 
sword, had his arms and ammunition ready, and as commander- 
in-chief was determined to take the consequences of a fixed and 
bloody battle, but his enemies should never burn him in effigy in 
front of his own house — never ! — no ! — never ! The raw recruits 
were stationed at available points in his dwelling ; the arsenal 
department was closely inspected ; the quartermaster and com- 
missary had made ample provisions for a long siege ; his friends 
were eager for the affray and firm in their devotion to his inter- 
ests ; while he, as he strode impatiently up and down in his own 
parlor, was supposed to mutter : 

"Come on, Macduff, 
And damned be he who first cries — ' f Told ! Enouj^h ! ' " 

Returning to the other end of his room, he probably thought 
of, if he didn't utter, the following sentiment of Sir Roderick 
Dhu : 

"This rock shall fly from its firm base as soon as I." 

But the enemy didn't come ! The sentinels peered out into the 
darkness ! All was still ! The commissary issued fatigue rations 
amid the clash of arms inside, but the silent night gave back no 
response. The hours wore on heavily, pregnant with big coming- 
events, but there was no sleep. 

" Macbeth had murdered sleep." 


" They come ! They come ! " can be heard the cry upon the 
outer wall, and with deadly grip each soldier grabs his gun to 
dare, to do, to die ! Listen ! All is still. 'Tis a false alarm ! 
No enemy appears ; no enemy dare appear to confront the gal- 
lant band who are ready to fall for their brave commander ! And 
then the clank of arms within the dwelling grew louder, and 
hearts grew braver, ** and there was hurrying to and fro," and 
impetuous movements, and glaring eye-balls, and unsteady steps, 
" when in the small hours of the morning," the bloodless battle 
having been fought and won, the victors slept upon their arms, 
and Ramsey had triumphed ! 

Towards daylight most of the party finding that the bellig- 
erents did not make their appearance, left the residence of the 
Governor and wended their way to " Monk Hall," which then 
stood on the corner of Eagle and Exchange streets. Here they 
made a furious attack on the building with stones, breaking in 
the windows and forcing the inmates to seek other quarters for 
their lives. In this building was stored the effigy of the Gov- 
ernor, but his prompt and decided action intimidated his enemies, 
and won him the victory. 


Ill-health for many years has prevented Mr. Stees from 
taking any active part in public affairs. In 1859 he was County 
Commissioner, and in 1854 was Chief Engineer of the Fire 
Department. He is a good-sized man and looks much more 
rugged than he really is. Is a quiet, unobtrusive, industrious, 
pleasant gentleman, and has given many years to a lucrative 
business from which he retires to enjoy the repose of a well- 
spent life. 


Mr. Cummings was born in Ireland about 1827; came to 
St. Paul in 1850; elected City Marshal in 1851 ; Alderman in 
1869, 1 870-'; 1-72 and '73 ; member of the Board of Education 
three years; and Chief of Police in 1863. For several years 
past Mr. Cummings has not been actively engaged in any busi- 
ness, and what he is now doing I do not know. 

He is a tall, well-proportioned man, with a fine head and a 
fine address, and one seeing him on the street would not suppose 


he was the person who had filled so many important offices, and 
yet he is a gentleman of good ability, and if he had " kept on in 
the even tenor of his way," he might still have been prominent 
among the politicians of to-day. He was a stone mason by 
trade, and built the first stone building in St. Paul. He also 
brought the first shell oysters to the city in the year 1852. He 
was offered one dollar and fifty cents per dozen for them, but he 
wouldn't sell them; gave them to his friends. Generous Mike! 


The writer had made a speech in the old Market House 
which reflected somewhat politically upon two members of the 
Legislature, when one or both of these members threatened to 
whip him, and a number of his friends hearing of the matter, 
offered to escort him safely home. Among the number was Mike 
Cummings, and although we differed politically, he being a Dem- 
ocrat and I a Republican, yet he swore vengeance upon the 
person who should injure a hair of my head. He was at least 
six foot tall and equally large in other respects, so my enemies 
concluded to let me alone. I shall always have a pleasant mem- 
ory of Mike Cummings. 


The Indians always say " How ! " or " Ho ! " which means, 
** How to do ? " So the whites adopted this habit and whenever 
they drank they invariably said "Ho!" and Minnesota is known 
all over the Union, especially in drinking circles, by this little 
word. Two English tourists were visiting the West and one of 
them hearing " Ho ! " and the clinking of glasses, innocently 
inquired — ** What makes 'em say 'o when they drink ? Does it 
'urt 'em ? " The other fellow dropped off into a snooze, when 
his companion awoke him by exclaiming — " Wake up ! the day 
is breaking ! " ** Well, let her break," replied the other ; " I've 
got no money there ! " 


It should be remembered by my readers, that in 1850 there 
were no railroads or stage lines to St. Paul, and that for nearly six 
months the people were deprived of a boat by the ice in the river. 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 215 

One can conceive the joy over the arrival of the first steamer, 
bringing as it did not only provisions but good tidings from 
home. And then when the stage line did come it took a week to 
get to or from either Galena or Dubuque. Jump on to a train of 
cars now and see how soon you can reach the seaboard ! But 
after all a pony was better than walking ; a horse and a carriage 
were better than a pony ; a stage was better than a private con- 
veyance ; a boat better than a stage ; the cars the best of all, 
unless in the future we shall find some new channel in the shape 
of electricity which can put us over the road in half the time with 
greater convenience than now. 


No great changes were made in the city during 1850. The 
first town election was held and twenty-five marriages were cele- 
brated. The Pioneer v/as anxious to have the stumps pulled out 
of Third street. The Minnesota river was navigated some 300 
miles for the first time. Two hundred and fifty families then lived 
in the city. The first Court House was commenced, and Dr. 
Day was paid ^10 for drawing the plans. Vetal Guerin donated 
the land. Now, in 1885, plans for a new Court House have been 
accepted which will necessitate an outlay of not less than ;^6oo,- 
000, and an elegant foundation for the building is already in. 
Land for the present Catholic Cathedral was also donated this 
year. The new jail was commenced. The Democrat ysi?^^ started 
by Col. D. A. Robertson, and subsequently purchased by Judge 
D. A. J. Baker. A large proportion of the population this year 
was French. Now it is German. No particular public improve- 
ments were made aside from the above, but civilization began to 
gradually push out barbarism and the place continued to steadily 


Mr. Burbank was born in Vermont in 1822; worked on a 
farm ; received only a common school education ; taught school ; 
opened a bookstore at Watertown, N. Y. ; ran an express to New 
York city ; removed to Wisconsin where he opened and worked 
a farm; came to St. Paul in 1850, without money and without 
friends, and was the first express messenger between St. Paul 


and Galena, carrying the express matter in his pocket, and later 
along when he secured a sub-contract for carrying the mail — it 
consisted of one bag! He engaged for a while in the lumbering 
business, and on leaving that established in 185 i, the first express 
which ran between St. Paul and (jalena. In 1852 he formed a 
partnership with W. L. Fawcett ; then with Ed. Holcombe ; then 
with C. T. Whitney, the other partners retiring, and engaged in 
the forwarding business ; then, in 1854, the Northwestern Express 
Company was organized, and in 1856 Whitney went out of the 
concern and Capt. Russell Blakely became a partner. In 1857 
Burbank & Co. put a line of stages on the route East to compete 
with Walker & Co. ; secured the mail contract in 1858 ; " hitched 
horses" with Allen & Chase, and in 1859 the Minnesota Stage 
Company was organized; in i860 John L. Merriam entered the 
firm, and for seven years Burbank, Blakely & Merriam were the 
** high-cock-a-lorums " in the stage and transportation business in 
the Northwest. Mr. Burbank continued in these avocations up 
to 1867, when he devoted himself to insurance, banking, railroad 
and other enterprises. He was the president of the Chamber of 
Commerce from 1869 to 1881 ; was largely interested in the St. 
Paul & Sioux City Railroad, in which he was a director ; was an 
active organizer of the St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Com- 
pany, and was its president and financial manager; in 1873 was 
one of the early originators of the Street Railway Company; was 
president of the same ; and then, while engaged in many useful 
occupations, he died in 1876, aged fifty-four years. 


J. C. Burbank was a well-developed man, strong, rugged, 
tough, decided, the very picture of health and vim, and pos- 
sessed native, uncultivated talents, which made him a marked 
character. He was strong in good, common sense ; clear in his 
business perceptions; prompt to act; industrious; self-reliant, 
with good judgment, and a man of excellent tastes. Had he 
lived until to-day he would have been a very rich man. 

Riding with him one day he remarked — "I have just paid 
;^2 5,ooo on my old Sioux City Railroad stock, but it don't pay." 
" Well, what did you do that fc^," I asked, " if it does not 
pay?" "Oh! to save the other 525,000 already in." Riding 


with him some six months afterwards he again remarked — " I 
have paid in $25,000 more on my old Sioux City stock!" 
** Heavens save us," I repHed, " why do you persist in sinking 
money in that way ?" " Can't help it," was his response. " I must 
protect the ;^50,ooo already in, and I have faith in the future." 
After his death his estate realized a very large sum from this 
investment alone. 

"That tree is worth 1^500 to the people who ride on Summit 
avenue," he said to the writer one day as he stopped his horse 
and pointed to a beautiful Norway spruce, some forty feet high, 
then in the yard owned by the author of these articles. " Why, 
Burbank, I didn't know you were such a lover of nature," was 
my response, when he offered $1,000 to put that same tree down 
in his own yard in as good a condition as it then stood. Bur- 
bank is gone ; the tree is gone ; both his and my own homestead 
are gone ; the little girls who used to gambol on the green sward, 
are gone ; and the charming spot which to him was so dear, has 
passed into other hands. Such is life ! He was an excellent citi- 
zen ; a good neighbor ; a fine business man ; public-spirited ; 
genial, pleasant and manly. 


Colonel Robertson was born in Pennsylvania in 181 3, and 
is a descendant of the Highland Scotch ; studied law in New 
York; was admitted to practice in 1839; removed to Ohio; 
became the editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Mount Vernon 
Banner, and other papers ; was appointed U. S. Marshal in 1 844 
for the State of Ohio, which office he held four years ; was a 
member of the constitutional convention of Ohio ; resigned the 
position and came to St. Paul in 1850; established the Minne- 
sota Democrat that year ; was elected a member of the House of 
Representatives in 1859 and i860; Sheriff in 1863, serving two 
terms ; was a member of the Board of Education ; a member 
and a great promoter of the Historical Society and the Academy 
of Sciences ; is a director of the St. Paul Library ; organized 
the first Grange of Patrons of Husbandry in the United States, 
giving it a splendid set of books; speculated in real estate; 
made money ; visited Europe ; accumulated a very fine library, 
consisting of several thousand volumes, which he sold to the State 


Univ^ersity ; is a member of the National Scientific Society ; wrote 
several works which have never been published ; has lectured 
on history, political and social science, and is still an earnest 
lover of literature in all its departments. 


Colonel Robertson has the appearance of a man who has 
spent most of his life in the army. He possesses a good physi- 
cal organization, is well built, stands erect, walks dignifiedly, and 
has a commanding manner, giving one the impression that he 
had been trained in a military school. He has been a great 
student all his life, and his library room is his battle field. No 
matter how abstruse a subject may be, or how deep, or how 
perplexing, Colonel Robertson attacks it as vigorously as Grant 
did the Confederate forces in the war, and he usually comes 
off victorious. I remember visiting his rooms years ago when 
the question of scientific agriculture was exercising the public 
mind, and such an array of documents, papers, books, writing 
material and manuscript, never met my vision before, even in an 
editor's office. Literary pursuits seem to be a part of the 
Colonel's existence, and if there is anything he enjoys in life it 
is the pleasure derived from his books. He is a very social 
man; always ready to talk and does talk ; is public-spirited; a 
lover of nature and a citizen much respected. His striking pecu- 
liarity is the manner in which he seeks to impress one with his 
views, and in this regard he resembles somewhat Rev. E. D. 
Neill, only he is a little more persistent. When he was younger 
he was a great politician, that is, of the Dem.ocratic persuasion, 
and his political writings indicate strength and terseness, with 
great boldness of expression, especially in attacking an antago- 
nist. He has just passed seventy years, yet is hale, hearty and 
active, and in 1885 was residing with his wife in Europe. 


Judge Nelson was born in Cooperstown, N. Y., in 1826 ; is 
the son of the late Judge Samuel Nelson, once one of the Judges 
of the United States Supreme Court ; studied law in his father's 
office and also in that of the late Judge J. R. Whiting, and prac- 
ticed in his native State; came to St. Paul in 1850 ; was 


appointed one of the Supreme Judges of the Territory of Minne- 
sota in 1857 ; subsequently, in 1858, was appointed United States 
District Judge by President Buchanan, which office he has filled 
for the past twenty-seven years. 


No man walks the streets of St. Paul upon whom the man- 
tle of judge sits so grandly and so becomingly, as that of Judge 
Nelson. On the bench or off it he is every inch a judge, and for 
over a quarter of a century he has impartially and ably adminis- 
tered justice under the law to hundreds of culprits, and yet I 
know of no instance where any injustice has been done. The 
Judge is a fine-looking man ; well rounded out into excellent 
proportions ; is serene, dignified, yet affable ; moves silently 
among his fellow-men, and as a citizen is greatly respected. As 
a judge he ranks among the first. His decisions are clear, sound 
and just. He has a very kind heart, but never allows that to 
swerve him from the path of duty. He studies his cases thor- 
oughly, is anxious to arrive at the truth, and conscientiously per- 
forms the duties imposed upon him. In early days the Judge 
made investments in St. Paul which are now very valuable, and 
had his interests in Superior City turned out as was expected, he 
would have been a very rich man. As it is, he is comfortably 
well off, and in the eyes of the public enjoys as much of life as 
most men are entitled to. He dignifies the great nation of which 
he is an honored and honorable judge, and reflects credit upon 
the profession of which he is at the head. 


Hole-in-the-Day was a great friend of the whites, and finally 
married a Caucasian woman at Washington. He was born in 
Minnesota, and his father before him was a great chief of the 
Chippewa Indians, both of whom are now dead and buried upon 
a hill about two miles above Little Falls on the Mississippi river. 
In 1850 Hole-in-the-Day took a Sioux scalp on the west side of 
the river, opposite St. Paul, which event is thus described by the 
Pioneer. o( that date: 

" On Wednesday there was great excitement in St. Paul — Indians yelling at 
each other across the river, and running up and down the shore, canoes crossing the 


river, and everything betokening the utmost exasperation. It peems that news had 
reached them that a party of Sioux were overtaken a short distance out of St. Paul, 
two murdered and three taken prisoners. At this moment a company of Sioux have 
started northward through town, stripped of their blankets, in pursuit of the das- 
tardly murderers. This is the first blow struck by the Chippewas in revenge for 
fourteen of their tribe murdered the other day in a sugar camp, by the Sioux." 

It seems that Hole-in-the-Day came down the river in a 
canoe as far as Fountain Cave ; crossed over to the other side ; 
secreted his boat in the bushes near the trail which the Sioux 
took to Mendota ; fell upon a company of three or four ; killed 
and scalped one ; recrossed the river and put for home, having 
traveled eighty miles in twenty-four hours. The reader should 
remember that the Chippewa country then embraced the land on 
the east side of the river, while that of the Sioux was on the 
west ; and when it is recorded as a matter of history that this 
event occurred almost in our midst in the year 1850, one can 
realize the rapid strides civilization has made since that time. 
Hole-in-the-Day was a large, splendid specimen of an Indian 
warrior, of whom I shall have more to say in a subsequent chap- 


Born in New York in 1824, Mr. Stillwell came to St. Paul 
in 1850, and has ever since been engaged in the building and 
contracting business. He erected the old Merchants hotel when 
owned by Col. Shaw, and has been as true to his line of business 
as the needle is to the pole, and what he has done or may do, 
has been and will be done well. He is a steady, industrious 
man, and peculiar in the fact that he is very unostentatious and 
undemonstrative. He is a good deal of a politician of the Re- 
publican order, and is very much like a sti// ivell — deep, cool and 
quiet; a good mechanic, a good man, a good citizen. 


Mr. Moore was born in Pennsylvania in 1824; came to St. 
Paul in 1850; his grandfather was in the Continental army from 
New Jersey ; George attended school held in a log cabin about 
six months in the year, and in 1838 learned the printing business, 
and then attended an academy for about two years, during which 
time he did a little teaching ; worked in a book office in New York, 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 221 

leaving there when twenty-six years of age and coming to St. 
Paul. On arriving in this city he became foreman of the Pioneer 
office, owned by Goodhue, and in 1852 became one of the pub- 
hshers of the Minnesotian, and continued so up to 1859, and then 
the Times was united with the Minnesotian and the firm — New- 
son, Moore, Foster & Co., was elected that year to do the Legis- 
lative printing. Soon after this he retired from the printing busi- 
ness, and in 1861 was appointed Deputy Collector of Customs 
and custodian of the Custom House, St. Paul, by President 
Lincoln, which office he held uninterruptedly for nearly eigh- 
teen years, and to the general satisfaction of the party and the 
people. He was an Alderman from the Fourth ward for a term 
of three years — 1866-'69 — during one year of which he was vice- 
president of the committee on streets. 


Mr. Moore was a natural politician. He was once a Henry 
Clay Whig, but early espoused the Republican cause and fought 
it out desperately on that line. I have seen him stand at the 
polls and challenge the Irish Democrats until he had scarcely a 
garment left on his back. In those days of twenty-five years 
ago, the Irish were different from what they are now. Then 
whisky was the dominant element and common sense was at 
a discount. Fights at the polls were almost universal, and the 
Irish, or rather whisky, was usually the aggressor ; now, through 
the influence of Bishop Ireland and the good sense of the Irish 
people themselves, no more orderly or sober class of men can 
be found at the voting precincts on election days, than the sons 
of " Erin mavureen, Erin go braugh." Mr. Moore not only 
worked in the ranks where work would tell, but he served as 
chairman on the county committee for a good many years. He 
took a decided stand at the door of IngersoU Hall at the time 
the Republican convention split, one section nominating Hub- 
bard and the other Donnelly. Hubbard resigned and Andrews 
was subsequently nominated. I instance these cases to show 
the dogged persistency with which Moore carried out his politi- 
cal ideas. When he got his eyes " sot " politically, notliing could 
move them. He struck from the shoulder because he always 
attended the primary meetings, and stood at the polls where 


effective work did great good. Besides Moore was a good politi- 
cal planner. 


In his palmy days Moore was a thick-set, somewhat lym- 
phatic individual ; good-natured ; moderate in his movements 
and in his speech. He had great decision of character, and when 
he had decided upon a question it was very difficult to mov^e 
him. Generally he was not free to advance opinions of his own, 
but rather adopted the opinions of those in whom he had confi- 
dence, and then he fought desperately to maintain them. He 
was a good printer, and a good writer, industrious, honest, cool, 
calm, and a pleasant companion. As a government officer he 
was prompt and faithful in the discharge of his duties. He mar- 
ried a Miss Tuttle and owns property on Dayton and Selby 
avenues, which has now become very valuable. Mr. Moore has 
been an invalid for many years, and his apparent want of energy 
no doubt may be attributed to this cause. He is an old land- 
mark and was once a partner of the wTiter. He has my kindest 
wishes for his continued prosperity and ultimate restoration to 


Gen. Le Due is of French descent, his father having been 
in the French army, but the General himself was born in Ohio 
in 1832. When a lad he was educated at Kenyon College and 
graduated with the honorary degree of A. M. ; admitted to prac- 
tice law in 1849; came to St. Paul in 1850; practiced his pro- 
fession in this city ; dealt in real estate and made mercantile ven- 
tures up to 1856, when he removed to Hastings, and there 
engaged in milling and town site speculations ; entered the army 
as Captain Assistant Quartermaster in 1862; was on General 
Dana's staff as Chief Quartermaster in the field ; was on the com- 
mission to examine quartermasters ; was promoted to Brevet- 
Brigadier General ; resigned in 1865; returned to Hastings; 
organized the Hastings and Dakota Railroad Company ; was 
president of the same until 1870; was appointed United States 
Commissioner of Agriculture by President Hayes, and held the 
office several years, during which time he sought to demonstrate 
that tea could be grown in this country and that we could also 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 223 

raise our sugar and our molasses. He is now a resident of 


In 1853 Le Due kept a small assortment of books and sta- 
tionery in a one-story little white wooden building which stood 
on the south corner of the present IngersoU block. He was 
quite intimate with Mr. Brown of the Pioneer, (who at that time 
was a member of the Legislature,) and Le Due was a great 
schemer, always proposing something new. He dealt also in real 

I think he was the originator of the proposition which was 
made to Mr. Brown in the presence of the writer, to secure a 
charter of the Legislature to furnish the city with water. I 
remember he was very enthusiastic over the matter and urged it 
upon Mr. Brown with a great deal of eloquence. The plan was to 
take water from the Mississippi river and convey it in barrels to 
the houses of the citizens, for which they were to pay a stipu- 
lated price. At that early day it was considered a gigantic enter- 
prise, and the charter was supposed to be very valuable. Now 
the water-works of the city cost probably, $1, ©00,000, and thou- 
sands of barrels of water daily are required to supply the demand. 
Then and now ! — what a change ! I little thought at this time 
that this same active, bustling, energetic, wide-awake man 
would be United States Commissioner of Agriculture and stand 
at the head in Washington of the greatest industry of the nation, 
and yet such is the fact. 

A tall, quick, active man, with positive convictions, fertile 
in expedients, with a restless brain and unbounded energy, are 
the peculiarities which marked Gen. Le Due as I saw him in 
1853, and even later in life. 


The first brick house on the bluff on the south side of Third 
street, was built by Mr. Le Due in the winter of 1853, and as 
soon as completed it was occupied as the post office. Then it 
became a saloon ; then the office of the Minnesotian ; then the 
Times and Minnesotian, and in this building the old St. Paul 


Press was born. Now the place is known as the Tivoh', where 
ingredients for the stomach are served up instead of ingredients 
for the brain. And thus the march of years continues while the 
wheels of time involve changes that startle us with their vivid 
records of a by-gone age. 


Mr. Oakes was a kind, genial gentleman all of the olden 
times, and a memory of his pleasant ways comes back to me 
laden with many recollections of by-gone years. He was simi- 
lar in character to Mr. Brown, of whom I have written, and had 
many of his pleasing peculiarities, among which was that favor- 
ite expression, " by George ! " In all the years of my acquaint- 
ance with Mr. Oakes, I never saw him out of temper once, or if 
so, it was with a half smile upon his lips. He was a rare speci- 
men of one of the old land-marks in the history of the North- 
west, and to those who knew him well, as the writer did, his 
memory will grow dearer as years advance. 


Mr. Oakes was born in Vermont in 1803 ; his father was a 
merchant and manufacturer, and at one time was sheriff in 
Michigan. The son received only a common school education ; 
clerked in a store for a short time; came to Chicago in 1821 ; 
was employed in the sutler's department when there were only 
two white people in Chicago ; removed to Sault Ste. Marie in 
1822; engaged in the mercantile business two years, and then 
commenced trading with the Indians, employing voyageurs, etc., 
which he followed for some time, when he connected himself 
with the American Fur Company, and continued in this business 
up to 1834. During the trips Mr. Oakes made at this time 
among the Indians in search for fur, he experienced many hard- 
ships, and in one case particularly, where he froze his feet. 
Mr. Oakes had other narrow escapes ; once when the Indians 
wanted to kill him because he would not giv^e them whisky, but 
he promised them in the spring when they brought in their fur, 
to treat them all round, and this satisfied them. Mr. Oakes kept 
his promise and the Indians were happy. 



He suffered many privations as most voyageurs and explor- 
ers do, but came out of his trials all right, and from 1834 up to 
1838 was in Michigan engaged in speculating, out of which he 
made some money and loaned ;^5,ooo of it to parties in Chicago, 
who urged him to take in pay a block of land on Clark street 
now worth ;^ 1, 000,000; but he had no faith in Chicago " mud," 
and accepted in lieu therefor '* Red-dog " money and realized 
nothing for his ;^5,ooo! In 1838 he resumed his connection with 
the American Fur Company and continued with them up to 
1850, when he removed to St. Paul, and in 1853, in company 
with his brother-in-law, Charles W. Borup, opened a bank, of 
which I have already spoken in a previous article. Mr. Borup 
died in 1859, but the banking business was continued until 1866, 
when Mr. Oakes retired from the concern, visited Europe, and 
for several years after enjoyed a quiet and serene life. 


Tall, well-proportioned, hale, hearty, with gray hairs ; a face 
beaming with smiles, and a voice low and musical, were pecu- 
liarities which caused Mr. Oakes to be cordially welcomed wher- 
ever he went. His affability won him many friends. His system 
bubbled over with good nature. His heart was young even in 
old age. He carried sunshine in his eyes, and there was music 
in his laugh. ** By George ! is that so ? " will be recognized by 
those who best knew Mr. Oakes. 


Borup was naturally impetuous, as all men with heart- 
disease are, and many times he unintentionally offended some 
of his best customers. Then, after business, he would meet Mr. 
Oakes at his own house and talk over the affairs of the day. 
Suddenly he would break out — ** Oakes, I know I offended 

Mr. to-day. Go see him ; see him ; make it right with him." 

And Mr. Oakes would call upon the customer, engage him in 
conversation, and before he left convince him that Mr. Borup was 
one of the best friends he had in the city. Of course the next 
day Borup would treat the gentleman with the utmost courtesy, 


and everything thereafter would move along smoothly. This 
occurred not once, but many times, and well illustrates what I 
have previously said, "that Borup & Oakes got along well to- 
gether as partners, as Borup did the business and Oakes always 
agreed with him ; " but afcer all Mr. Oakes was an important 
spoke in the wheel. 


Mr. Oakes had always been a great walker, and he claimed 
he kept his health by out-door exercise. He made it a habit to 
walk not less than six miles per day. Meeting him for the first 
time in 1853, I presented him with a check for ^^130 on his bank, 
but the graceful manner in which he informed me that there v/ere 
no funds in hand, impressed me most favorably with the man. I 
was in his company many times afterwards and under trying 
circumstances, and always found him kind and pleasant. 


I met him the last time on Third street, just as I was leav- 
ing for the Missouri river. I thought his step was not as steady 
as formerly, that he was a little more bent in the shoulders than 
usual, and that his face had lost somewhat of its rugged appear- 
ance ; yet his smile was the same ; his greeting more cordial, and 
his voice even more pleasant. On my return he was dead ! 
And thus another old oak in the forest of human existence had 
been swept away by the cyclone death, leaving many true friends 
to mourn its fall. Mr. Oakes was close to eighty years when 
he died. 


If years crown goodness with undying laurels, then in the 
case of Mrs. Oakes the years have been very generous. A bright, 
pleasant eye, dark hair, threaded with gray, a brunette complex- 
ion, sweet, engaging manners and a pleasant smile, are graces 
which adorn the oldest and best known lady resident of the city. 
Born in 181 2, Mrs. Oakes looks as fresh and young as a wonian 
of thirty, and yet she has lived to see her husband, her sister, 
and her sister's husband, and all her children but one, pass into 
the silent land. Thirty years ago the writer spent an evening 
in her pleasant home, when George, and Charlie, and David, and 


Jane, and grandpapa, and Mr. Oakes, and Mrs. Oakes, and her 
sister, Mrs. Borup, and Mr. Borup, graced the social circle. 
Then they numbered nine— now they number two. Since then 
Gen. Van Etten, former husband of Miss Jane, has joined "the 
innumerable caravan gone before," making eight out of ten in 
thirty years, of this family who have crossed the mystic river ; 
and yet serenely, and calmly, and pleasantly, and hopefully, 
the mother, the wife, the sister, the friend patiently awaits the 
messenger, ready at a moment's call 

"To draw the drapery of her couch about her, 
And lie down to pleasant dreams." 

And so the years roll on like the surging waves of the ocean, 
and foot-prints on the sands of time of to-day are all obliterated 
in the brief period of thirty-five years. Within this magic cir- 
cle the original tree and its branches disappear, and from the roots 
spring new shoots, which, in their turn, must follow the everlast- 
ing, eternal vvheel of time. 


Mr. Monti was born in Switzerland, Italy, in 1834 ; came to 
this country when five years old ; lived in New York city ; was 
engaged as teamster in the Mexican war in 1846, and lost a leg 
in the service ; resided for some time after the war in New Orleans, 
and came to St. Paul in 1850. He married a Miss St. Cyr, a 
French girl, whose parents resided in St. Louis, and soon after 
opened a dry- goods and grocery store nearly opposite the old 
American House on upper Third street. He sold out his busi- 
ness and became connected with Louis Robert in the steamboat 
line, in which he continued five years ; removed to St. Cloud and 
engaged in business there; was burned out; no insurance; 
came back to St. Paul, where he resided until his death. 


He at one time owned two lots on Third street nearly oppo- 
site the old American House, for which he paid $50; sold for 
$1,400; worth now ;^ 15,000. He purchased forty acres on St. 
Peter street, back of the Park Place hotel, for ^200; worth now 
$50,000 ; bought a claim at Cottage Grove of 160 acres for $20; 


worth now about $io,ooo. Monti was just as wise as many 
other old settlers and about as rich when he died. 

When living he drew a pension of ;$24 per month for the 
loss of his leg, which was procured for him by special legislation, 
but the moment he died the pension stopped and his widow gets 
nothing. Mrs. Monti's father, I am informed, was in the war of 
1 812 and also in the Black Hawk war; was a mail carrier over 
100 years ago in the time of Gen, Jackson, and occupied a prom- 
inent place in the old hero's confidence. 


In 1879 and some time before this, Mr. Monti had been 
affected with dropsy, and in 1880 he died. While in the cham- 
ber of the dead Mrs. Monti heard a noise, and looking up saw Mr. 
Monti rise up, and upon approaching him found him to be alive. 
Unable to speak she looked at him for a moment and then dis- 
covered that his gray hair had turned black, and bursting into 
tears he exclaimed — *' Mother ! this world is bad, but the other 
is worse," and then continued to weep. He lived two months 
afterwards, and just before he died remarked — " I am near the 
mansion." He was a generous, kind-hearted man ; had met 
Avith many losses and suffered a great deal before he left for that 
other world which he said was ** worse than this." Poor Monti ! 
if what he had revealed to him was true, what will the rest of 
the old settlers do when they come to pass the boundary line ? 
Echo comes back — " boundary line." 


Capt. Bell was born in Pennsylvania in 18 16; came to St. 
Paul in 1850; in the spring of 185 1 made a claim twelve miles 
below St. Paul at a place now called Langdon, but he found he 
had mistaken his calling as a farmer, and returned to St. Paul 
in 1 854 and commenced steamboating on the Minnesota river; in 
1857 opened a wholesale and retail grocery store in connection 
with his brother, H. Y. Bell, in Irvine block, upper Third street, 
and here they offered for .':ale in this city the first carbon, or what 
is now known as kerosene oil, also the first lamps for burning it. 
Capt. Bell had command of the steamboat that took down the 
first load of freight on the Red River of the North to Winnipeg, 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 229 

at which time Winnipeg had only three houses ; built the first 
dam on the Red River of the North in order that steamboats 
could get over the bar at Goose rapids ; moved the Winnebagoes 
by steamboat from Mankato to St. Paul during the war ; had 
charge of the United States improvements in the Minnesota river 
for several years ; also for a part of the time those of the Wiscon- 
sin river under Gen. G. K. Warren ; superintended the building 
of the largest dam in the Mississippi river above St. Louis, for 
the Chicago 8i Milwaukee Railroad Company, and this dam was 
constructed after Capt. Bell's own patent; conveyed the first guns 
and ammunition in the Indian war to points on the Minnesota 


The Captain says that when he arrived at St. Paul the first 
man who met him was Judge Goodrich, and he called out to him, 
without an introduction — " Mister, your old pung looks like a 
broken-winged duck." And indeed it did, for it was all torn to 
pieces by the brush, and was tied together by straps taken from 
his trunk, as he had made the trip in it overland from below. 
He says that then there was not a house north of Third street, 
except a few on Robert street. All the boats landed at the upper 
levee at the foot of Eagle street. Opposite St. Paul (now the 
Sixth ward, with a population of 15,000,) the land was covered 
with heavy timber, and in this timber the Indians made their 
homes, especially in the winter. From Chestnut street to near 
the Cave the timber was also very dense and heavy. 


He bought one acre on Pleasant avenue for ;^300 ; sold it for 
;$3,ooo; worth now ;^25,ooo; purchased three lots on Dayton 
avenue, for which he paid about ^$500; he holds them yet ; worth 
;^30,ooo without the houses. When the writer came to St. Paul 
in 1853, Capt. Bell's little white house was away out of town and 
people wondered why he did not buy somewhere inside of civili- 
zation! But now he is surrounded with some of the finest man- 
sions in the city, one alone costing over ;^ 150,000! He is the 
oldest continuous inhabitant on St. Anthony Hill, and has lived 
in his present house near a quarter of a century. 


Capt. Bell is quite a genius. He is the inventor of the best 
dams in the Mississippi river, and has recently brought to perfec- 
tion an invention to wash gold and silver and copper from the 
gravel in which it is found, or from the rock when powdered. 


He is a tall man, and moves over the ground with an angular 
motion, somewhat like persons born in the South. He takes long 
strides, and comes down upon one like a huge steamer under a 
full head of steam. He is a man of positive characteristics, and 
.is well adapted to command. What he knows he knows, or he 
sincerely thinks he knows. He is a pusher ; that is, what he has 
to do he does energetically. He is conservative in his nature 
and never makes a venture. He is kind, pleasant, talkative, 
social, a good citizen and a good man, and has accumulated 
enough of this world's goods to live comfortably the remainder 
of his life. His wife is descended from one of the finest families 
in Europe. 


In August, 1862, Captain Bell was summoned to appear 
before Gov. Ramsey and Gen. Sibley, then at Fort Snclling, and 
engaged to run his boat to St. Paul as quickl}- as possible to 
get ammunition for the soldiers, as the Indians had broken out 
and were murdering the whites. The Captain put his boat under 
a high speed, arrived at St. Paul, and after working all night, 
got the guns and ammunition on board, and steamed back again 
to the P'ort, received the troops at once, and put his boat up the 
Minnesota river, and at Shakopee commenced to unload, carry- 
ing some of the weapons up the stream to other places. At 
Carver the scene was appalling. The Captain says : 

"Men, women and children were crowded on the bank of the river, many of 
them in their night clothes, just as they had hurriedly fled from their homes, on 
receiving the dread news that " the Indians were coming ! " Some had come from 
Glencoe and other points back of Henderson and Carver. It was a strange scene. 
These panic-stricken refugees were overjoyed at the sight of the soldiers, and 
appeared much relieved to find that steps had been taken to protect them. We 
landed the balance of the soldiers at Little Rapids, and at once returned to Shako- 
pee. Here we found great excitement among the troops. It was found that the 
balls furnished were of too large a caliber for the old muskets ! This was an un- 


fortunate and awkward dilemma, certainly, and came at a time when every minute's 
delay increased the alarm and impatience of the people of the valley, whose lives 
and property where threatened by the horde of red demons who were known to be 
devastating the settlements but a few miles distant, and perhaps pressing on towards 
the towns in the lower valley. Some of the soldiers tried to pare down the balls, 
so as to adapt them to the bore of their muskets, but of course this was tedious 
and unsatisfactory work. A sadge was finally used, but this, too, was a slow way 
of supplying a military expedition with bullets ! There was, at the time, much 
discussion and fault-finding by the impatient people and journalists about this matter 
of unsuitable ammunition, and attempts were made to lay the blame upon this one 
and that one — even upon the commander of the expedition, who certainly could not 
have been responsible for it." 

The fact was, there were no decent guns in the State, and 
none to be had, and the call for help was so sudden there was 
no time to ascertain what the weapon were, or what kind of am- 
munition was available, so that neither Gov. Ramsey nor Gen. 
Sibley was to blame for this mishap. 


Captain Starkey was born in England in 1818; came to 
America in 1849; to St. Paul in 1850; was Assistant Secretary 
of the Territory from 1850 to 1853; a member of the Legisla- 
ture in 1857; Speaker /r^/<^;;2 of the House the same year; Cap- 
tain of the St. Paul Light Cavalry in 1855 ; on duty in 1857 to 
protect settlers at Rum river from Indians ; was engaged in a 
battle ; lost one man ; killed two Indians and took seven prison- 
ers ; commanded the Chisago Rangers in 1861 to hold in check 
the Indians on the St. Croix; raised a company of cavalry 
on the breaking out of the rebellion and tendered it to the gov- 
ernment, but it was not accepted; in 1862, at the time of the 
Indian massacre, was in command of a company of mounted 
rangers and did good service against the savages ; resided at 
Columbus in 1863; ran a saw mill; was County Commis- 
sioner of Anoka County; justice of the peace; engaged in rail- 
roading ; made the first survey of a railroad route from St. 
Paul to Lake Superior, which, with slight modifications, was 
subsequently adopted ; was a contractor on the Lake Superior 
& Mississippi Railroad — now St. Paul & Duluth — and broke 
the first ground for the construction of the Northern Pacific 



At the request of the Board of PubHc Works in 1873, Capt. 
Starkey was induced to take charge of the city sewers and 
inaugurate a system, or in other words bring order out of chaos ; 
this he succeeded in doing by estabhshing a sewer department ; 
compiled the sewerage ordinances, and prepared plans and speci- 
fications for a large number of main and lateral sewers, which 
were constructed under his supervision, and as I am informed, 
there has been no material change in Mr. Starkey's plan or sys- 
tem since, although succeeding engineers have attempted to im- 
prove on the same. Having, therefore, given his brain and long 
experience to the city for a low salary, his connection ceased 
with the city in 1875. That his labors in the sewerage depart- 
ment of the city have stood the test of years, and the further 
fact that his youngest son, Albert, a promising engineer, has 
now sole charge of the city sewerage department, is a source of 
gratification to those who know the subject of my sketch. Capt. 
Starkey is at present a member of the Ramsey County Plat Com- 
mission, and has recently received the appointment of Assistant 
Inspector of Buildings in this city. His son, Edward, is now 
serving his second term as Alderman of the Fifth ward. 


Capt. Starkey is a well-built and well-preserved man, some- 
what on the old English gentleman style ; supple, active, humor- 
ous. He is a man of fine attainments ; a ready writer, a poet, 
and a good speaker. In the early days of the Democratic party 
he was a man of influence among his associates, but he was like 
many others, too modest to ask for services rendered, and there- 
fore got nothing. He is naturally a soldier; brave and com- 
manding ; loves military life, and had fate thrown him into the 
regular army he would have made a fine record. He is inde- 
pendent. Of late years thinks and acts politically on his own 
individual convictions ; is ambitious, but spurns office unless 
obtained without corruption ; is social, even playful ; always 
scatters sunshine wherever he goes, although dark clouds ma)' 
at the same time shade the heart. He is kind, genial, temperate, 
honest and sympathetic ; has led an active, useful life, and though 

OF ST. PA UL, MINX. 233 

not recompensed in his own person for services rendered the 
city, yet it must be gratifying to him to see the meritorious 
traits of his family fully appreciated by a discerning public. 
Although merging on to seventy years he is a man apparently 
just in his prime, and bids fair to outlive many younger men. 


A rugged son of Erin, a hardy toiler, a saving, thrifty, hon- 
est, industrious man, is bold, bluff John Bell. Who of the old 
settlers does not know him ? Who does not respect him for his 
manly qualities? Mr. Bell was born in the north of Ireland in 
1826; came to America in 1847, ^^"^^ ^^^ ^ time resided in Mas- 
sachusetts; arrived in St. Paul in 1850; worked for Gov. Ram- 
sey; married in 1856; for a number of years was engaged in 
hauling goods for the government ; in later years took contracts 
for digging cellars ; was among the first to deal in lime and 
cement in this city, and is engaged in this business now. 

He was offered a lot on the corner of Bench and Wabasha 
streets where the Tivoli now is, for ;^io; couldn't see the value; 
didn't take it ; lot now worth ^^20,000 ; bought of Judge Lam- 
bert the block in lower town on which the residence of Mr. 
Beaupre stands, for ^^loo; gave it to his brother ; brother sold 
it for ;^900; worth now ^^75, 000; he owns fifty feet on Third 
street, between Cedar and Wabasha, for which he paid $300 ; 
worth ^50,000; purchased a lot on Minnesota street for a yoke 
of cattle with horns broken, cost ^^200; land worth ;^ 20,000 ; 
owns one hundred feet on the same street; cost ;S400, worth 
$30,000 ; owns four acres on Lake Como, for which he paid 
$800, mostly in work, worth $5,000; could have bought 150 feet 
on Fifth Street by 100 on Minnesota, for $200, worth $40,000; 
helped build the old Lake Como road for Henry McKenty, and 
numerous other bargains he could have picked up, but let them 
slip — ^just for fun ! 


Mr. Bell built a house on Minnesota street nearly a quarter 
of a century ago, where he now lives, and in this place he has 
raised a family of five boys and two girls, and has never moved 
from the old homestead. Clerk Bell, of the District Court, is his 


oldest son, and he is a bright, promising young man. John Bell 
has never known the luxury of moving, and this may account 
in a great degree for his uniform temper, although he does some- 
times get angry, probably because he can't move. In addition 
to his other property he has a store on Third street for which he 
receives a rental of $\^G per month. 

While Mr. Bell has been and is now a hard-working, indus- 
trious man, yet he has a good deal of vim in him, and those 
who attempt to run over him usually get bit. He is strong, 
sinewy, tough ; has a good stock of common sense, and great 
will-power. He has accumulated his property by " the sweat of 
his brow," and is a sturdy citizen. When thoroughly excited 
he is like a lion and bears down upon his opponent with all the 
force at his command, and yet he is a solid, worthy, good man, 
pleasant and agree ible in the every-day walks of life. 


Born in Canada in 1837; had a common school education ; 
came to St. Paul in 1850, where he learned the trade of shoe- 
maker ; was afterward cabin boy on a Mississippi river steam- 
boat ; followed boating thereafter seventeen years ; engaged in 
the grocery business in this city, and is, or was until recently^ 
proprietor of a large retail grocery store. He married Miss 
Anne Murphy. 


Was born in England in 1844; came to America at an 
early day, and settled in Philadelphia; removed to St. Paul in 
1 850; was engaged with his father in the jewelry business on 
Jackson street until he became of age, when he went to Chicago 
to learn photography ; established himself in business in this 
city in 1867, where he has continued ever since. He has taken 
views in the Black Hills, Montana, and in many other places, 
and ranks high in his profession. He is a quiet man, unosten- 
tatious, and devoted to his art. 


Born in England in 1820; came to the United States in 
1842; resided for a short time in Kentucky; removed to St. 
Paul in 1850; engaged in the mercantile business until 1861 ; 


was a member of the City Council ; president of the same ; and 
during the above year was appointed Register of the U. S. land 
office at Duluth, then a place of three houses, and where he 
went to reside and continued to live until his death ; remained in 
office eight years ; was Auditor of St. Louis County nine years ; 
was a member of the Legislature in 187 1-2 ; was an active pro- 
moter of a railroad to the Lake, especially to Duluth, and he 
lived long enough to see this enterprise completed ; was post- 
master of Duluth for about ten years ; then his eldest son 
became postmaster ; then his next oldest son, and this son finally 


When I first met Mr. Marvin he was keeping a shoe store 
on Third street, and lived on the corner of Broadway and Seventh 
streets, in a small building which has long since given way to a 
large brick store. He was a small man, very conscientious in the 
discharge of his duties, and had a somewhat plaintive voice. He 
was quick in his movements ; public-spirited ; industrious ; honest ; 
governed by principle ; ambitious ; a great Republican worker ; a 
strong party man, and a worthy citizen. I met him at Duluth in the 
winter of 1 865, when he occupied a small building as United States 
land office, overlooking the lake and bay, and which building is 
still standing, or was last summer. Then three or four houses con- 
stituted Duluth. I met him again a few years later as postmaster, 
when Duluth had grown to the dignity of a city with a popula- 
tion of several thousands. Prospectively he was then a rich man 
in real estate. Once again I met him ; Jay Cooke had failed ; 
real estate had depreciated ; Duluth was on its back ; Mr. Marvin's 
riches and the fortunes of many others had fled. I met him once 
more, broken down in health, and then the news came — gone ! 
Mr. Marvin was a prominent settler in the early days of St. Paul, 
and his memory is cherished by all those who knew him. And 
thus the links in the chain of the past are being severed, and each 
year the line is growing shorter and shorter. 


When I commenced my Pen Pictures in the Globe in 
December, 1S83, among the first of the old settlers I wrote about, 
was B. Presley. I found him in his store busy with his fruit, and 


yet he complained of his throat, as he had once before said to the 
writer that it was so bad he could not spend his winters North ; 
in other respects he was in apparent good health. I saw him 
again for the last time on Wednesday, the second of July, 1884, 
when he lay cold and silent and dead in his beautiful home — the 
first broken link in my Pen Pictures of the old settlers of St. 
Paul. The venerable firemen, his gray-headed contemporaries, 
the Masonic order, the gathering of the people, the paraphernalia 
of the fire department, with the mournful strains of music, all 
clearly indicated the esteem in which he was held by the com- 
munity. But then this is only another link broken ! only another 
warning ! only another vacant chair. 


In October, 1850, Miss Fredricka Bremer, the Swedish 
authoress, visited St. Paul and also what is now known as Lake 
Minnetonka, just then discovered by white men for the first time. 
She spent several days in this section of country ; carved her 
name on a tree near Manitou, or Spirit Point, in the above lake ; 
roamed over our hills, and on her return home wrote a very 
interesting account of her travels in the then great unpeopled 
Northwest. In those early days the French were mostly the 
occupants of the soil. Now the French have disappeared and 
in their places have come the hardy sons and daughters of 
Sweden. Miss Bremer, in her " Homes of the Northwest," thus 
alludes to her visit to St. Paul : 

** Scarcely had we touched the shore when the Governor of Minnesota and his 
pretty young wife came on board and invited me to take up my quarters at their 
house. The town is one of the youngest infants of the great West, scarcely eighteen 
months old, and yet it has in a short time increased in population to 2,000 persons, 
and in a very few years it will certainly be possessed of 22,000, for its situation is as 
remarkable for its beauty and healthfulness as it is advantageous for trade. As yet, 
however, the town is in its infancy, and people manage with such dwellings as they 
can get. The drawing-room of Gov. Ramsey's home is his office, and Indians and 
work-people and ladies and gentlemen are alike admitted. In the meantime Mr. 
Ramsey is building a handsome house upon a hill, a little out of the city (the old 
house stood where the new one now stands,) with beautiful trees around it, and 
commanding a grand view of the river. If I were to live on the Mississippi I would 
live here. It is a hilly region, and on all sides extend beautiful and varying land- 
scapes. The city is thronged with Indians. The men for the most part go about 
grandly ornamented, with naked hatchets, the shafts of which serve them as pipes. 
They paint themselves so utterly without any taste, that it is incredible." 



In 1884 the great Swedish singer visited Minnesota and sang 
in the State Coliseum to an audience of 5,000, just thirty-four years 
after the first visit of Miss Bremer, the Swedish historian. Then 
St. Paul had grown from 2,000 in 1850 to 120,000 in 1884, and 
among those who heard the great singer not less than 1,500 were 
Swedes, and more are coming. No Indians are now seen upon 
our streets ; the new residence of the Governor is not only within 
the city limits, but worth ;|S40,ooo ; the hopeful trade of that day 
has grown from mere nothing to nearly ;^ 1 00,000,000 per year, 
and the city is still spreading out and still growing into magnifi- 
cent proportions. What strides ! — what changes in a few brief 
years ! 


Born in Kentucky in 1817; came to St. Paul in 1850; was 
captain of a steamboat for many years ; was uncle of John B. 
Spencer, and though at one time he owned a large amount of 
real estate, yet before his death he lost it. I did not know him 
personally, but learn he was a hardy river man, well versed in 
all the affairs of the steamboat trade. He lived in the lower 
part of the city and died there. 


Men are misjudged; motives are misjudged; actions are 
misjudged; and I find this truism all along the pathway of life; 
yet the development of the inner man brings to the surface grand 
qualities which are unseen, and of course unappreciated by the 
public. The finest diamonds are hid beneath the rude rubbish 
of nature ; the purest heart lies encased in a rough covering ; 
the brightest intellect is trammeled by circumstances ; even genius 
itself is cramped for want of money, or opportunity, or appreci- 
ation. The development of the true man is not the outer growth 
due to material causes, or wealth, or position, but the inherent 
qualities of the invisible essence of all life, of all manhood. So 
in estimating character let us be sure that we know the real man 
rather than the gross garment of a gross world, made up of com- 
ponent parts of all the elements of imperfect nature, and which 
is only the material form of that which is better within. 



Mr. Olivier was born at Berthier, province of Quebec, Can- 
ada, in 1 8 19; received a complete classical education and prepared 
himself for the priesthood, but on the eve of admission declined ; 
came to St. Paul in 1850, was employed by Rice & Haney 
until elected Register of Deeds in the fall of 1853; was re- 
elected in 1855 ; dealt largely in real estate and worked up a set 
of abstract books for Ramsey County, which have been used 
ever since; returned to Canada in the spring of 1858; died in 
his native place July, 1862, aged only forty-three years. 

He bought the block adjoining St. Joseph Hospital on the 
east, except two lots fronting on St. Peter street, for $800 ; worth 
now $50,000; six lots on Minnesota street, between Fifth and 
Sixth streets, for which he paid $2,500; worth now 590,000; 
300 feet on Jackson street, between Eighth and Ninth, for $5,000 ; 
worth $150,000. 


" Louie Olivier," as he was called, possessed the natural 
trait of his native country — politeness. He was tall, slender, 
social, full of life and vivacity ; a good accountant, and a man 
of a very generous nature. He had great influence with the 
French, was a power among them, while his affability with 
the Americans won him many friends. I remember him well 
and pleasantly, for he was a genial companion and a kind friend. 


]\Ir. Constans was born in France in 1829; received a com- 
mon school education ; came to St. Paul in 1850; clerked for a 
time in an old log store which stood upon the hill near lower Jack- 
son street, the front part being used for groceries and provisions 
and the back part, in the shape of a shed, being used as a tailor 
shop. At this early day he could not see how a clerk could be 
paid for his services out of the profits of legitimate business, 
but he soon learned how it was done, and with about $300 went 
into business for himself He continued in trade one year, when 
the firm became Constans & Burbank, and in addition to their 
commission transactions they started the first express in Minne- 
sota. At the end of a year they were $160 out of pocket from 

OF ST. PA UL, 3fINN. 239 

their express enterprise, Constans paying his half of the loss, or 
$80. Burbank then went out of the concern and made there- 
after the express business a specialty. 


Mr. Constans continued in business at his old place twenty- 
three years, and at the old and new place he has been in busi- 
ness continuously in the city, thirty-five years, and now that Mr. 
Presley is dead, he is the oldest continuous merchant in the city 
or State. He purchased his present property on the upper part of 
Jackson street in 1852, built in 1858 his residence, and has lived 
there ever since. He erected a brick house on Seventh street in 
1853, and Burbank built a wooden house the same year on what 
was known as Baptist Hill, about where the Manitoba Railroad 
office now stands. Trade had been good that year and the firm 
"branched out!" 

Mr. Constans informs me that in the spring of one year the 
steamer Nominee poked her nose into the back window of his 
warehouse near the present Bethel Home on Jackson street, and 
some five hundred feet from the present bank of the river. He 
says this ground has been filled up some twelve feet since then, 
and that it was common for the water to cover his warehouse 
floor, of course sometimes worse than at others. 


Mr. Constans is neither a large nor a small man, but of 
medium size. He is a person of great self-reliance and individ- 
uality of character ; is a thorough business man ; a man of 
method ; unerringly devoted to trade, and knows how to carry 
on an extended enterprise as well as any other man in the city. 
He early purchased a good deal of property, and its rise has 
made him a rich man — worth several hundred thousand dollars. 
He is quiet in his every-day walk of life ; pleasant yet reticent, 
marching forward in one groove, and bending his energies to 
one end — business. 

And thus I am marching along down through the vista of 
years, picking up by the way-side the almost forgotten pioneers 
of over a quarter of a century ago, who, then young, laid the 
foundation for a great city here, and who, now burdened with 


cares, and gray hairs, and unsteady limbs, are groping down 
into the valley of old age, waiting to catch a glimpse of that 
other shore where hundreds have preceded them into that better 
land. And so I pause, and think, and — wait! 


On the sixteenth of May, 1850, Rev. E. D. Neill's chapel, on 
Washington street, took fire by some shavings becoming ignited, 
accidentally or otherwise, and was burned to the ground. This 
was the first fire which occurred in St. Paul. Where Warner's 
block now stands, corner of Third and Wabasha streets, was an 
unfinished w^arehouse, and in this Mr. Neill preached until his 
new church was erected. 


The first Presbyterian church, rebuilt on the corner of Third 
and St. Peter streets, was finished in October^ 1850, and the first 
bell in Minnesota was hung in its belfry and was rung the Satur- 
day evening preceding the Sunday of the first service within its 
walls. The second bell was in the Market Street Church. 

The first Court House was commenced in November, 1850, 
but was not completed until the year 185 1. It stood thirty-three 
years and served an admirable purpose. It was torn down in 
the early part of 1884 to make room for a new Court House, 
which w^ill cost not less than ^600,000. The old wooden jail was 
erected a few months later in the same year. It was demolished 
in 1857. It was an insecure and unsafe place in which to keep 


Gov. Ramsey issued a proclamation designating December 
26, 1850, as a day of thanksgiving and prayer, the first Thanks- 
giving ever commemorated in Minnesota. Of course turkeys 
were quite scarce, but whisky was in abundance, and *'the boys" 
whooped it up until very late in the night. They were a great 
deal more thankful for what they had in those days than we are 
now, even if the whisky was adulterated with strychnine and 

On the fifth of September, 1850, the corner-stone of Christ 
Church was laid on Cedar street, and shortly after the building 


was erected. It was a little Gothic structure, and was reached 
by a two-plank sidewalk from Third street. Here Revs. Wilk- 
coxson and Beck and Van Ingen preached, and then the new 
church was erected on the corner of Fourth and Exchange, where 
it now stands, and the little old church passed out of sight for- 


A case of cholera occurred in this city for the first time, this 
year, and a man by the name of Lumley died with it. It again 
made its appearance, I think, in 1854, and several died, mostly 

This year witnessed the publication of a directory, and the 
erection of a brick store. There then existed in the city five 
clergymen, fourteen lawyers, two land agents, four doctors, 
sixteen mercantile firms, one shoemaker, six hotels, three paint- 
ers, two blacksmiths, four plasterers, five masons, eighteen car- 
penters, one silversmith, one gunsmith, five bakers, three wheel- 
wrights, one harness-maker, one tinner, two newspapers. The 
first brick store was built by John Farrington, corner of Third 
and Exchange streets. 


Mr. Wheelock was born in Nova Scotia in 1831 ; was edu- 
cated at an academy in New Brunswick ; came to St. Paul in 
1850; was in the sutler's store at Fort Snelling for about two years ; 
was editor of the Real Estate and Financial Advertiser, owned 
by Charles H. Parker, from 1854 until 1858; was associate edi- 
tor of the old Pioneer in 1859; made a trip with Gov. Ramsey in 
1863 to consummate a treaty with the Red Lake Indians; was 
Commissioner of Statistics in i860; in 1 861 was connected with 
William R. Marshall in renting the Times office, type, material, 
good-will, etc., then edited by T. M. Newson, and out of this 
transaction grew the establishment of the Press, of which Mr. 
Wheelock became editor ; was appointed postmaster at St. Paul 
in 1870. He married Miss Kate French, of New Hampshire, in 
1 86 1. During the war a paper called the Daily Union, estab- 
lished by Fred. DriscoU, was merged into the Press, and in 1875 
the old Pioneer and soon after the Minneapolis Tribune were 


absorbed by the Press, and this joint paper was presided over by 
Mr. Wheelock, as editor-in-chief; subsequently the Tribune was 
re-estabhshed upon an Associated Press franchise purchased 
from the Pioneer Press. The outcome is the present Pioneer 
Press, of which Mr. Wheelock is still editor; so that he has been 
continuously in the editorial harness up to the time of his leav- 
ing for Europe in 1883, about twenty-two years, although pre- 
vious to entering upon his daily duties he had edited a weekly 
paper four years, thus making in all about twenty-six years of 
active editorial life. 


Mr. Wheelock is a tall, spare gentleman with side-whiskers 
sprinkled with gray, and usually carries a cane. Over a quarter 
of a century ago I remember him as an invalid, very slender, 
with large eyes, a good brow, and supposing hi-s lungs to be 
affected, daily used what was then a novel expedient, a lung 
inhalent for the benefit of his health. He was social in his nature, 
somewhat hesitating in his speech, decided in his opinions, 
i iipulsive, easily excited to anger, and exhibited what one might 
term a reserved power, it only needing a good physical organiza- 
tion to bring it out. His trips on the plains greatly aided to 
restore his health, so that when he became Commissioner of Sta- 
tistics he piled up the figures in an intelligent and accurate 
manner. It is said of him that in boyhood he was considered 
different from other children, and that peculiar, distinct charac- 
teristic of early days he has carried into manhood, and still he is 
a very able writer, a deep thinker, with an analytic and philo- 
sophical mind. In early years he wrote with a great deal more 
ornamentation than now, that is, he used many constructive 
words to convey his meaning, while at present he drives right 
forward to the main point at issue. He is self-reliant, and pos- 
sesses a large degree of individuality ; is reserved in his manners, 
yet to those who know him well he is social, amiable, generous,, 
and a pleasant companion. He has strong likes and dislikes ; 
has devoted his time almost exclusively to his profession, and his 
ambition has been to build up a powerful journal, and in this par- 
ticular he has shown both ability and tenacity. The writer has 
measured pens with Mr. Wheelock on some public questions and 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 243 

differed with him on others, yet that will not prevent him from 
rendering honor to whom honor is due, or bias him in his honest 
estimation of the man. He left for Europe before the first of July, 
1883, and after spending over a year there returned to St. Paul, 
July 9, 1884, when he resumed his active duties as the chief 
editor of the Pioneer Press. 


Born in Maine in 1822; educated at an academy; resided 
for a short time in Illinois and Indiana; came to St. Paul in 
1850; opened a daguerrean gallery in a building on the corner 
of Third and Cedar streets ; remained there seventeen years ; 
then removed to the Lambert building, on the opposite corner, 
up-stairs, where he continued until 1871, having been in the busi- 
ness altogether twenty-one years. The first daguerrean artist 
was Dr. W. A. Jarvis ; the second Joel E. Whitney. 

Mr. Whitney produced the first photographic likeness in the 
city, and was therefore the first photographer. He took many 
views from which engravings have been made, among them the 
first Catholic Chapel, the Falls of St. Anthony, and other places. 
His pictures had much to do in attracting attention to the city. 


The first lithograph map of the city was issued by S. P. Fol- 
som & Co. and it is a very fine work of art. The first lithograph 
view of the city was by Whitney & Le Due and gave the best 
view of St. Paul at that time. The first plat was issued by Whit- 
ney & Nichols. Mr. W. was once in the banking business, the 
firm being Caldwell, Whitney & Co., and the building now 
stands on the corner of Third and Robert streets, at present occu- 
pied as a drug store. 

Mr. Whitney bought eighty-five feet on the corner of Cedar 
and Third streets in 1850, for which he paid $i,ioo; worth now 
^60,000; owned half of the claim in 1861 upon which Merriam 
Park now stands, for which he paid ;^2,ooo ; worth now ^200,- 
000; bought forty acres this side of the Reform School for $250 ; 
worth now ^40,000 ; owned largely in Whitney & Smith's Addi- 
tion, cost ;S^io,ooo; worth ;^ 5 00,000 ; purchased four acres in 
Butman's Addition for ;S650; worth ^100,000; owned an acre 


and a third on Canada street, paid $14^, sold for ^400; worth 
now ;^30,000; had property at Cottage Grove, Anoka, and else- 
where ; invested largely in paper towns and lost all the money 
he had made in the city. He left for the South in 1871 and 
returned to St. Paul in 1881, and entered the grocery business 
on Jackson street, but gave it up in consequence of ill-health, 
and since then he has been doing comparatively nothing. 



Mr. Whitney was always estimated an honest man. He was 
industrious and honorable, and years can detract nothing from 
these qualities. He is of medium size ; quite deaf, but an ami- 
able and pleasant gentleman, and has seen St. Paul grow from 
a mere handful of men and women to a city of 120,000 inhabit- 


Father of Joel E. Whitney, came here in an early day and 
made many real estate investments, one-half of which, had he 
held, would have made him worth millions. He gave to the 
German Society the lot upon which the present German Metho- 
dist Church stands, and he was among the first temperance men 
in the city — a great worker in the cause he espoused so enthu- 


When I ask some of the old settlers what property they 
once owned and what they now own, they usually turn around 
to see if the assessor is near by, and some won't give the figures 
under any circumstances whatever, and this reminds me of a 
little story: In early days Stephen Denoyer was the possessor 
of some 400 acres between St. Paul and St. Anthony, and every 
time a boat arrived at our levee he walked up and down on his 
veranda and advanced his real estate so many dollars per acre. 
One day a larger number of boats arrived than usual, and 
Denoyer, very much elated, put his property up to quite a 
respectable figure, when, among the gentlemen listening to him, 
one addressed him as follows : 

" Mr. Denoyer, you have about 400 acres here, have you 
not ? " 



Oh, yes," said Denoyer, " I has 400 acres." 
Well, Mr. Denoyer, what is your property worth per 
acre ? " 

" O, veil, I'se zinks one hundred toUars per acre." 

"Then you think that one hundred dollars per acre is cheap 
for your property ? " 

"Veils, I zinks he be worth more tan one hundred and 
twenty-five tollars per acre." 

" You have 400 acres here ? " 

" Yah ! You'se buy 'em ? " 

" Oh, no," said the man, and soon drove off. 

"Do you know who that man was?" said a gentleman to 

" Vy's, no. Vot you ask for ? " 

" Well, that was the Assessor of Ramsey County," he 
replied, when Denoyer was heard to exclaim : 

" Oh, my Gods," and calling for his fast horse he was soon 
on the road trying to overtake the Assessor and to convince him 
that he had accidentally make a mistake in the valuation of his 
own property. Of course Denoyer caught his man and then 
" smiled," and the Assessor " smiled," and they kept on " smil- 
ing," (for everybody " smiled " in those days,) and finally a com- 
promise was effected whereby Denoyer's property was assessed at 
$2^ per acre instead of ;^ 125. Moral — look out for the Assessor. 


Among the many earnest Democrats I met on my first 
arrival in St. Paul in the year 1853, — the Territory was then Dem- 
ocratic — none were more enthusiastic, or more warmly devoted 
to their party, than William Noot and " Little Jack Morgan," the 
latter well known by the old settlers as the Ohio Democratic pol- 
itician. Noot and Jack were inseparable. They agreed on party 
issues ; never faltered in their devotion to the memory of Andrew 
Jackson, and socially were hale fellows well met. Poor Jack ! 
How often he tried to convince me that I was wrong in my devo- 
tion to the cause of the slave, and how often he regretted that 
one he so esteemed should be misled by fanatical ideas. Unfor- 
tunately he did not live to see the results of the great rebellion, 


but died in early life fully impressed with the belief that the Dem- 
ocratic party was the only pure and great and grand party which 
could save this country from destruction. Jack came to St. Paul 
sometime in 1852 or 1853, and of whom I shall have more to say. 
Mr. Noot I lost sight of for years and supposed he was dead, 
when a mere accident found him alive and well, living at a serene 
old age in the town of Big Lake, Sherburne County, Minnesota. 


He was born in Wesel, on the Rhine, Prussia, in the year 
181 1 ; removed to Missouri in i8z|4; engaged in farming; mar- 
ried Nancy Merchant in 1845; came to St. Paul in 1847; 
remained here a short time when he made a claim one mile above 
the mouth of Rum river, including the big island, but was 
driven off when the Winnebagoes were removed to Blue Earth 
County, they having a high old spree over his scoota-wa-boo, 
which they found, and which event Mr. Noot thus describes : 


He had two barrels of whisky at this time which he had 
sold to the Indian traders and had it hid according to instruc- 
tions in a corn crib, but the Indians found it out and then there 
was a lively tussel. They took every pot and pan he had, and 
even emptied his powder keg and filled that with whisky, and 
removed these vessels to where they camped that night which 
was about three-quarters of a mile from Noot's house. Himself 
and wife and little son then went to Mr. Folsom's, at the mouth 
of Rum river, but there was no sleep. The Indians were very 
liberal with their whisky, and fortunately they were very good- 
natured, so Noot and his family escaped with their lives. 

Mr. Noot then bought a claim near St. Paul in 1850, sold 
it, and took another claim on the Fort Snelling reservation, in 
Reserve township. He served two terms in the Territorial House 
of Representatives in 1853-4, and translated the first message of 
Governor Ramsey into German ; voted for Abe Lincoln, but 
after the death of that good man he went back to his old love, 
the Democratic party. He enlisted in the Second Minnesota Reg- 
iment and served his adopted country, and though not rich he 
has been blessed with elc\'en children, and resides where he has 


made it his home for the past twenty years. One son is dead, 
three others and one daughter are married, and this veritable 
Noot, to our memory of thirty-two years ago, still lives at the 
advanced age of seventy-four, dreaming over again the pleasant 
times he had with little Jack Morgan and the good old Demo- 
cratic party of over a quarter of a century ago, having been a 
resident of Minnesota for about thirty-eight years. 


Mr. Farrington was born in Ireland in 1827; came to this 
country when about seven years of age; was trained in mercan- 
tile pursuits in New Orleans in 1840, until he thought the city 
was too big for him, when he removed to Chicago in 1849, ^^"^^ 
engaged in business with his brother George, and finding Chicago 
too large removed to St. Paul in 1850, where he has remained 
ever since, and with which city he is entirely satisfied. 


Mr. Farrington built the first brick store in the city, which 
formerly stood on West Third street, near Exchange, the ground 
floor of which was occupied by himself and brother, and the sec- 
ond story by Captain Wilkin, then Secretary of the Territory. 
The upper part of this building was subsequently, in 1854, occu- 
pied by the Times printing office, and by Charles Parker, banker, 
on the lower floor. Later along it was consumed by fire. 

In 1853 there existed a firm by the name of Rice, Culver & 
Lowry, which dealt largely in the Indian supply business of the 
Northwest and the traffic in furs. When Mr. Rice was elected 
to Congress Mr. Farrington took his place, and the firm became 
Culver, P'arrington & Co., and continued to exist up to 1865, or 
twelve years. 


The trade of this firm was of great benefit to St. Paul as 
furs were brought to this city from all sections of the Northwest, 
and in exchange for these furs large amounts of provisions were 
sent out on to the frontier. This trade continued until Congress 
passed a law virtually placing a tariff on furs, and this sent them 
into Canada and into England, when the fur trade was aban- 
doned, and the firm of Culver & Farrington entered largely into 


the real estate business, and continued until the death of the 
senior partner, Mr. Culver, which occurred in 1878. 


Mr. Farrington has a large amount of real estate in this 
city, most of which has become valuable. He also has a large 
number of acres in Blue Earth County. 

In 1849 he purchased one-quarter interest in Whitney & 
Smith's addition to St. Paul, which ran from Jackson street to 
Broadway, for $500. The present property is worth $2,000,000 ! 
Ministers, and shrewd men, and men of brains, and men without 
brains, and men of culture, and men of no culture, and land men, 
and water men, have all got "left" in their estimates of the 
growth of St. Paul, and there is a unanimous verdict that if — 
and if — and if — what might have been ! — if we had only held on 
to that real estate ! but we didn't do it, and that settles the 


As one of the early settlers Mr. Farrington was always 
foremost in aiding any enterprise which would advance the inter- 
ests of the city, hence I find him subscribing to steamboat and 
railroad stock, investing in the first telegraph, and aiding in 
building hotels, a third interest of which he now owns in the 

He never held an elective office and was never a candidate 
for one. He was a member of the Board of Public Works for 
three years, and has been President of that body four years, 
making seven years in all. Was appointed U. S. Deputy Col- 
lector at the Custom House, St. Paul, in 1885, resigning as a 
member of the Board of Public Works. 


Mr. Farrington is a slenderly-built gentleman, very pleasant 
in his ways, an excellent business man, and undemonstrative in 
his nature. He is quite reticent when it is for his interest to be 
so, and quite social with his friends. He walks usually with his 
hands clasped in front of him, head inclined to the sidewalk as 
though in deep study, and moves straiglit forward about his busi- 
ness. The black hair of thirty years ago has turned to gray, 

OF ST. PA UL: MINN. 2 19 

giving him a more venerable appearance than in the days of 
" Auld Lang Syne," and with a gentle stoop in his shoulders we 
see the once president of our Board of Public Works as he 
appears upon our streets, a connecting and valuable link which 
cements the past with the present. 


Mr. Good was born in Pennsylvania in 1827; received a 
common school education; came to St. Paul in 1850; when he 
arrived he saw a large crowd of Indians on the levee, even 
greater in numbers than the whites, which startled him ; com- 
menced his career here in the lumbering business ; worked in 
THE FIRST SAW MILL IN ST. PAUL, and has studiously followed his 
business in the lumber trade for upwards of thirty-three years. 
He has accumulated a fine property consisting of houses and 
lots, and has a family of nine children, six of whom, however, 
are only living. He is a very quiet, industrious man ; acquired 
his property by saving, and is a substantial citizen, really a Good 

R. C. KNOX. 

Mr. Knox was born about 1827 ; came to St. Paul in 1853 ; 
was a member of the Council in 1851 ; Orderly Sergeant of the 
City Guards in 1853 ; Alderman in 1843-7 5 Street Commissioner 
in i860; was a carpenter and joiner by trade, and at one time 
took large contracts at Duluth and elswhere for the construction 
of docks and warehouses. He was what the boys would call 
" a stayer," being a man of great " push " of character, and was 
the originator of the first hook-and-ladder company in this city. 
He was a very tall man, being upward of six feet, and when he 
walked his strides were like " Jack the giant killer." In his day, 
which was thirty-five years ago, he was a great fireman, and the 
old men now — young men then — who used to follow his lead, 
assert that he would tire out a dozen ordinary men at a fire. He 
was a pleasant gentleman, and all the old settlers will remember 
him, for he towered in majesty above all, and was generally 
esteemed by all. 


I have hitherto only incidentally alluded to Mr. Henniss 
simply because I have had no means of knowing or ascertaining 


his history. He was of Irish descent and came to St. Paul in 
either 1849 or 1850, and was born about 1834, being at the first 
time I saw him, not far from twenty-five years of age. He was 
a slender, genteel man of good address, and possessed compos- 
ing and oratorical abilities, which, had he lived would have won 
for him a name, but his social qualities ran away with his judg- 
ment and at an early age he passed to the grave. I remember 
some of his after-dinner speeches and they were fervent, spicy, 
original, and withal quite effective. He wrote in an easy, flow- 
ing style, and was really a man of much promise, but too much 
sociability ended in his untimely death. 

L. B. WAIT. 

Mr. Wait was a short, thick-set man, extremely moderate in 
his movements and very peculiar in his manners. He at one 
time was Clerk of the Council, and later was Collector of the 
Port of St. Paul. He used to run a lime and seed store on 
lower Third street, this side of Jackson, and then he went into 
the printing business on Fourth street, in the old stone building 
occupied by Lamb & Sons, and failing went to California where 
he now is. He was born about 1834 and came to St. Paul in 
1850. He was a quiet person, very deliberate in his movements 
and in his talk ; never in a hurry ; 40,000 Indians on the war- 
path could not make him run, and he was as odd in his ways as 
his appearance indicated originality ; yet he was a moral, reput- 
able citizen against whom I can say nothing, except that he was 
awfully slow, and that he had a right to be if he so desired. 


Mr. Haycock was born in St. Paul in 1850 and received 
his education at our common schools and then succeeded his 
father in the wood business. Prior to this, in 1870 up to 1873, 
he was engaged in the grocery trade. He married Miss Haley 
in 1873, and though still in the vigor of manhood he may well 
count himself as an old settler and one whose experience in this 
country ought to be of some service to him before he reaches 
" the sere and the yellow leaf." 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 251 


One has a very pleasant memory about poor David Oakes, 
who fell in the battle at Pittsburg Landing during the late war 
with the South. He was a manly fellow, and though tinged with 
Indian blood, (of which he need not be ashamed,) yet he was 
always the gentleman. I remember him as a large, muscular, 
well-formed man ; straight, active, pleasant ; and to-day I can 
find nothing against him to cast a shadow over his excellent 
career. He was a trusted clerk of his father and was often sent 
on important missions among the Indians, and he never betrayed 
a trust or faltered in his duty. Brave and self-possessed, he with 
Theodore Borup cowered the Indians when they made an on- 
slaught on the Sioux in the old Minnesota Outfit and thereby 
saved much bloodshed. It was no doubt this same courageous 
element of his character which caused him to rush into the thick- 
est of the fight at Pittsburg Landing, where he met his death. 
Poor, gallant Dave Oakes ! gone down in life young, yet leaving 
a memory pleasant to his widow and pleasant to his friends. 

He was born at La Pointe, Wisconsin, in 1828; came to 
St. Paul in 1850; married Miss Curran, who survives him ; con- 
tinued mostly in the employ of his father, until he enlisted in the 
army, and was killed in 1862, aged about thirty-five years. 

*' His life was gentle and the elements 
So mixed in him that natm^e might stand up 
And say to all the world, this is a man." 


Mr. Knauft was born in Prussia in the year 1826 and edu- 
cated at the common schools of that country ; came to America 
in 1845 ^^d worked at the carpenter business in Quincy, Illinois, 
one year, and in St. Louis three years ; arrived at St. Paul in 
1850 and continued his trade on Seventh street up to i860, when 
he abandoned the business and became a school-boy at the age of 
thirty-six years, and with his books under his arm trudged along 
to the Commercial College, then kept by O. F. Carver on Third 
street, anxious to obtain a business education, which he success- 
fully accomplished. In 1 85 1 he commenced the grocery trade 
in a little store on the corner of Seventh and Olive streets, (having 
in the year 1850 erected the building,) and continued in the trade 


up to 1870, when he turned the stock over to his son and his son- 
in-law and thought he would take the world easy, but his active, 
industrious life would not permit him to do so, and he again en- 
tered business in 1 870 with a partner named Carl Ahrendt, but his 
partner had too much theatrical ability about him to suit Knauft, 
who dealt in matters of fact, and so, in the year 1874, he bought 
him out and has ever since run the business (hardware) alone, 
until 1884, when he gave his young son, Benjamin, a half-inter- 
est in the store, and the firm now is really Knauft & Son. 


He was induced to come to St. Paul because it was the 
heighth of his ambition to own real estate, and here he could 
get it with such means as he had at hand, while in St. Louis he 
could not, so he came to this city. In his then youthful estima- 
tion to own property was to be a king. At the time he built on 
the corner of Seventh and Olive streets in 1850, there were only 
a few houses in that whole section of the city, and on the oppo- 
site corner was a blacksmith's shop and an old inn where the 
Indians used to procure whisky. He resided on Seventh street 
thirty-four years, and now massive blocks of brick are taking 
the places of shanties and vacant lots. 


In 1850 Mr. Knauft purchased a lot on the corner of Sev- 
enth and Rosabel streets, (150 feet on Seventh and fifty feet on 
Rosabel,) for which he paid ;$400 ; worth now $^0,000 ; a lot on • 
the corner of Pine and Seventh, paid $400 ; worth ;$20,ooo ; three 
lots on Seventh, adjoining his corner lot, cost him ^1,500; worth 
$60,000; 100 feet on Tenth street; cost $1,600; worth $8,000. 
He has other property in various parts of the city, but the above 
is sufficient to demonstrate his early idea that the man who owns 
real estate is a king. Knauft's a king ! " Long live the King ! " 
He has four outside buildings beside his recent purchase of 
Adam Gotzian's residence on Dayton's bluff, for which he paid 
$15,000, and where he now resides. His bnck block on Se\^enth 
street is 200 feet long by lOO deep, has some twelve stores and 
thirty rooms in it, all bringing him in a handsome rental. The 
cost of this block was about $70,000. 


Mr. Knauft was a member of the Territorial Legislature in 
1856; also a member of the Common Council for three years. 
Since then he has no taste for politics and has no desire to occupy- 
any political position. He has been married three times and 
nine children have graced the household, six of whom are now 
living. He is worth, at least, ^250,000. 


Thirty-one years ago I remember Mr. Knauft as a small, 
thin, spare, apparently sickly man, with a long face, weighing 
not more than ninety pounds. He was then a quiet, modest, 
industrious, pleasant gentleman. Now I find him with ruddy 
cheeks, a full, round face, a rotund form, and carrying down the 
scales at 225 pounds. He is still the same careful, prudent, good- 
natured, plodding business man of over a quarter of a century 
ago, yet I notice a less elastic step than formerly, a more mod- 
erate movement than in the years gone, a few gray hairs lying 
around loose, still he has reached the throne of his ambition, 
and sits there — *' every inch a king ! " — a king because financially 
above want, and every inch a man because possessing the ele- 
ments that make one. 


" Joe Farr," a fine specimen of a colored gentleman, with his 
loping gait on the sidewalk and his bright eyes, is well known 
to all the old settlers, for as a man and a citizen he has been very 
generally esteemed for many years. It is true that in a fit of 
passion to which he was subject, he would occasionally take 
somebody by the nose and abruptly slap him in the face, and 
though not a banker yet he would shave any one out of fifteen 
cents quicker and better than the best confidence man I ever saw, 
and still Joe was popular. His customers seemed to like it and 
Joe laughed and grew fat. He was born in Washington city 
in 1832, where he lived twelve years; then removed to Galena 
and resided there six years, running on steamboats as the boy 
who made up the berths; came to St. Paul in 1850 having pre- 
viously learned the trade of a barber ; was at one time located in 
the old American House ; then in a building opposite the First 
Presbyterian Church, then in Rogers' block, and then in that 


owned by the late Dr. Stewart, where he continued for some 
twelve years, making in all about twenty-eight years of an active 
life of a barber, and he was an excellently good one. He then 
secured a position in the seed store of T. M. Metcalf, where he 
now is. Mr. Farr has a very intelligent family, two of his 
daughters having been teachers in our public schools. 


Mr. Parker is an Englishman with a round, bright face and 
a well developed head, and has been in St. Paul for thirty-five 
years. He is a quiet man, but none the less a good and worthy 
citizen. He was born in the south of England in 1815. After 
receiving a very indifferent education he learned the trade of a 
carpenter and worked in London for sixteen years ; emigrated to 
America in 1848; was employed in Brooklyn and New York ; 
resided in Chicago up to 1850, when he came to St. Paul; 
worked on the old Presbyterian Church which used to stand on 
Third street; also at P't. Ripley. In 1852 he went to reside with 
the Indians at Gull and Leech lakes, where he was employed as 
a carpenter and where he remained for years ; returned to St. 
Paul and has been employed at his trade more or less ever since. 


In 1852 he bought two lots on Fort street, now West Sev- 
enth, near the residence of Robert Smith, Esq., for ;$225 apiece; 
worth now in the aggregate $24,000 ; a lot in Leech's addition 
for $70, worth now $12,000. What is remarkable is the fact 
that this property he still owns. 

When Mr. Parker first came to St. Paul he and his brother 
kept a bachelor's hall in a house near the present residence of 
Henry Horn, Esq., and while absent on business the building 
took fire and that and everything in it was consumed, not leaving 
him a suit of clothes ; loss about $900. 


Coming down into the city after the fire, Mr. Parker met 
Hon. H. M. Rice, who had a store of his own, and who greeted 
him with — " Well, Parker, you have been burned out— come into 
my store and get anything you want." And he gave him a nice 

OF ST. PA UL, 3fINN. 255 

coat and vest. Gov. William R. Marshall gave him some shirts, 
while James M. Goodhue turned all the money out of his drawer 
and regretted it was not full. Mr. Fullerton put the best coat in 
his store on his back and told him to walk off. Indeed, every- 
body extended a helping hand and showed a very kindly feeling. 
Mr. Parker was engaged to a girl in the old country, who, after the 
death of her father, came to America in 1853, Mr. Parker having 
been here some time previously, and was married to her old 
lover, and has proved a faithful and devoted wife. He is a man 
of moderate size, uncommonly quiet in his ways, a hard work- 
ing, industrious gentleman and a man of excellent character. 


A straight, dignified gentleman, all of the olden times, was 
Mr. Thompson, who, in his daily rounds was always the same. 
His measured step and soldierly bearing, with a courtly manner, 
gave him a marked individuality and made him an impressive 
figure in the past. He was born in Pennsylvania, of Quaker 
parentage, in 1812 ; received a good education and graduated at 
Wilmington College, Delaware ; inherited a large fortune; came to 
St. Paul in 1850, and was at one time partner of H. M. Rice ; was 
Indian agent for several years ; made a treaty with the Sissetons 
and established the first farming among the Indians of Minnesota. 
He was at Fort Abercrombie during the Sioux outbreak and 
narrowly escaped massacre. During the later years of his life 
he was associated with Bishop Ireland in his colonization scheme, 
and while thus engaged was stricken with paralysis, and after 
lingering nearly two years, died. Mr. Thompson was a thorough 
gentleman, a man of unbending integrity, and very generally 
esteemed for his many good qualities. I remember Mrs. Thomp- 
son as a bright, beautiful woman, tall, graceful and amiable, but 
the old times and the old associations and the old places have 
been and are now passing away forever. But a few golden links 
remain, and they are breaking, breaking, breaking ! *■ 


Capt. Symonds was originally a sea captain and a man of 
muscular power. He was well developed physically and was as 
rugged in his nature as some of the huge hills of his own bonnie 


Scotland, where he was born about the year 1828; emigrated 
to America in 1848 and came to St. Paul in 1850. Here he 
built the first large ice-house in the city, and for years was an 
exclusive dealer in this article. His capacious buildings stood 
at the foot of Eagle street, while the gathering of his crop of ice 
from the river each year called out a small army of men. He 
was at one time justice of the peace and ran for Sheriff, but was 
defeated. When the gold excitement at Vermillion lake broke 
out he was among the first to enter that region, taking machinery 
and men as the representative of a New York company. In his 
attempt to come out from the mines alone he lost his way and 
very nearl}' starved to death, but his pluck and good constitution 
saved him. He was a man of strong convictions ; self-reliant in 
his nature; quite positive; a good judge of men and a man of 



When in the Vermillion district the Captain had some diffi- 
culty with the Indians, and it was found necessary to call in the 
powers of the vigilance committee to quell what then appeared 
to be a coming Indian fight, and he was waited upon by the com- 
mittee to concede to the Indians what was really their rights. 
He refused, and arming himself and carrying ammunition into 
his blacksmith shop, defied the committee and all the Indians. 
The writer was then president of that district and knowing the 
Captain's will-power he called on him in his fortified citadel and 
after a pleasant argument the Captain gave in and the difficulty 
was adjusted. He died several years ago leaving a fine family 
of boys, all of whom reflect great credit upon the memory of 
their father by their upright, manly conduct. Mrs. Symonds was 
always a sweet, pretty woman, and in her widowhood has lost 
none of those charms which made her a favorite years ago. 


Born in Kentucky in 1822 ; removed to Illinois in 1834 ; edu- 
cated at a common school ; lived for a short time at St. Louis ; 
then returned to Illinois ; in 1842 mined at Galena; remoxed to 
Prairie du Chien in 1845 '> learned the trade of joiner and car- 
penter and painter; in Kentucky built residences, hotels, school 


buildings, etc.; enlisted in a company of volunteers raised for 
the Mexican war in Wisconsin; in 1836, when his time expired, 
he went to New Orleans, Arkansas, and Louisville, Ky., where 
he erected a number of buildings ; arrived at St. Paul in 1850 ; 
married on the twenty-second of November of that year ; was 
Captain in the State Militia in 1863, under a commission issued 
by Gov. Ramsey; was Alderman in 1858; served an unexpired 
term and was re-elected for a full term ; was school trustee ; was 
appointed a special committee of the Common Council to fill the 
quota of men of the city for the war; was appointed by the 
Board of Health Chief Sanitary Inspector for the city ; was on 
the Board of Public Works in 1877, and president of the same; 
was Government storekeeper of the Quartermaster's Depart- 
ment ; storekeeper of Commissioner of Internal Revenue ; was 
chairman of the committee of arrangements of the Common 
Council to receive Gen. Grant on his first visit to St. Paul in 
1865 ; was in the grocery and provision business from 1857 ^o 
1 862 ; was appointed a member of the Board of Control in 1 884 
and is treasurer of the same, which office he still holds ; is also 
elder in Hope Church ; was contractor for painting the old 
State Capitol ; also first Court House, Presbyterian Church, 
building of H. M. Rice, etc.; was Master of the Ancient Land- 
Mark Lodge of Masons five years, and was presented with a 
Past Master's jewel by this lodge for valuable services rendered. 


Before leaving to get married in 1850, Mr. Wright pur- 
chased two lots in Rice and Irvine's addition for which he paid 
$200, and on these lots in the spring of 185 1 he erected a cot- 
tage home, where he has resided ever since, having never moved. 
It was and is now a beautiful and romantic spot, overlooking the 
river, and at that time was out in the country, but his place is 
novvthickly surrounded with houses, and railroad trains run under 
his very windows many times a day. Property worth now from 
*^ 1 0,000 to ;^ 1 2,000. 

He bought a lot on Grand avenue for ^^700; sold it for 
;$i,8oo; worth now ^4,000; three lots in Ed. Rice's addition for 
;$6oo; sold for ;$750; worth now ^3,600; forty acres on the 



reserve for ;^400; sold for $800; worth now ^20,000; two lots 
in Ed. Rice's Addition for $400; worth now 5,000; one lot for 
;$200; worth ;!g2,ooo ; fifteen feet on Fort street in 1849, for 
$ 1 ,000 ; worth ;|^6,ooo. 


Mr. Wright is a well-proportioned man ; active and vigor- 
ous ; very pleasant in his ways ; moderate in his speech ; 
direct in his actions ; and is perhaps as well known on our streets 
as any old settler who has been here for the past thirty-five years. 
He has a quick brain ; is always thinking or laying plans for 
some scheme, and yet in his movements he is quiet and unob- 
trusive. He is what is termed a self-made man, having been 
left an orphan when quite young, and having had no near rela- 
tives to advise or look after him ; is diversified in his attainments, 
having been a joiner, a painter, a carpenter, a politician, a mason, 
an alderman, and a deacon, and yet in all these affairs of life he 
has faithfully performed his duty. He has tried to be always 
Wright and thus far has succeeded. 

OF ST, PAUL, MINN, 269^ 



First Legitimate Dramatic Performance — First Concord Stages — First Bishop- 
First City Clerk — First McCormack Reaper — First Importation — First 
Hook and Ladder Company — First Leather Store — First Pen- 
sion Office — First School of Penmanship — First Candy 
Maker — First Sidewalk — First Big Fire — First 
Crockery Store — Incidents and 


The first Territorial Legislature met in the old Central 
House on Bench street, September 3d, 1849. The second session 
of the Legislature was held in 1 850-1, in a brick building on 
Third street, known as the old Rice House, corner of Third and 
Washington. The third session of the Legislature was held in 
the winter of 185 1-2, in a new brick building which stood on 
Third street, near where the Merchants hotel now stands. 


I have already given the particulars of the fight between 
Joseph Cooper, brother of Judge Cooper, and James M. Good- 
hue, editor of the Pioneer^ whereby both parties where wounded 
and from the effects of which wounds the latter died. I will 
only say in passing that the event occurred January 16, 185 1. 



The Legislature, having power from the general govern- 
ment to expend S20,ooo for the location of the Capital of the 
Territory, the question was warmly discussed in the Legisla- 
ture, and the matter was finally compromised as follows : Capi- 
tal to go to St. Paul, the University to St. Anthony and the Peni- 
tentiary to Stillwater. Three Commissioners were appointed to 
supervise the erection of a building, and a block of land (the 
present site,) given by Charles Bazille and Vetal Guerin, was 
accepted. Bazille gave the property in his own name, and Guerin 
reimbursed Bazille half of a block elsewere, and hence they were 
joint donors. The property now belongs to the State even if the 
Capital is removed. The old or first Capitol building cost $40,000. 


The first dramatic performance seen in St. Paul, was at 
Mazurka Hall during the month of August, 1851, when a troupe 
from New Orleans enacted " Slasher and Crasher," " Betsy 
Baker," and other pla}'s. One can see in imagination the tin- 
selry and daub of the stage of that day, as well as the crude 
surroundings of the hall ; the old benches, the three-footed stools, 
the rickety chairs, the tobacco juice and peanut shells, the 
s.noked room, all of which were apparent concomitants of a first- 
class theatre of thirt\'-four years ago ! and to this he can hear 
the wild shrieks of the "boys," or the jingling of tumblers in 
the room below, and form a very correct idea of the class of 
amusements given to the St. Paul public in 1851 ! Now take my 
arm, if you please; walk with me to Wabasha street; let us 
enter the Grand ; open your eyes ; critically inspect this beauti- 
ful house; see that capacious stage; look out upon that audi- 
ence ; listen to those sweet strains of music ; observe the glitter 
of the electric lights. Ah ! there they come ! what scenery ! what 
dresses ! what actors ! The dark-vis'agcd face of the grim old 
l^ast crouches in one corner of the opera room and horribly 
grins as he witnesses the innovation of years, while a sweet 
cherub angel floats over the stage and smiles serenely while she 
wafts her golden hair onward and upward! 185 i ! — 1885 ! Pro- 
gress ! Prosperity ! Pre-eminence ! 


Rev. E. D. Neill was appointed Superintendent of Schools ; 
a Red river train of 102 wooden carts arrived; treaty with the 
Sioux Indians made ; fifteen additions added to the city ; appear- 
ance of Weekly Miniiesotian ; Winslow House commenced ; 
Catholic Cathedral completed. 


Born in 1825 in Boone County, Mo., Governor Marshall 
came to Minnesota in 1847, or thirty-eight years ago. He is of 
Irish-Scotch descent ; received a common school education, and 
when at the age of thirteen years, in common with his brother, 
supported their mother and youngest sister. At the age of six- 
teen years he worked in the lead mines of Galena, 111., and in 
1847 he moved to Stillwater, Minn., and then to the Falls of the 
St. Croix. He pre-empted a claim at St. Anthony in 1849, 
which, had he held it to the present time, would have made him 
a very rich man. In the spring of 1849 he with his brother 
Joseph, well known to old settlers, established the first store of gen- 
eral merchandise at the Falls of St. Anthony. He surveyed that 
town and was engaged by the United States in surveying pine 
lands on the Rum river. He was elected to the first Territorial 
Legislature, and in 1851 removed to St. Paul and established 
the first iron and heavy hardware store, not only in this city, but 
in the State. The building was a small wooden one, standing- on 
the ground now occupied by the Warner block, corner of Third 
and Wabasha streets, and I remember it as the " Sligo Iron 
Store." The brothers afterwards occupied the stone building 
adjoining the Opera House (recently taken down,) and after 
selling out they established a banking house, which finally went 
down in the financial revulsion of 1857. Gov. Marshall pre- 
sided at the meeting which organized the Republican party of 
the State of Minnesota, and was brought out as a candidate for 
delegate to Congress by the St. Paul Daily Times, then edited 
by T. M. Newson, and was subsequently nominated by the con- 
vention, but through the pig-headedness of the anti-Nebraska 
wing of the Democratic party, was defeated, and H. M. Rice 
elected in his place. In 1861 he leased the printing material of 
the old Daily Times for one year, and thus established the St. 
Paul Daily Press, of which he was one of the editors, when in 


1 862 he entered the army and did service in the campaign against 
the Indians under Gen. Sibley, and then with his regiment went 
couth, where he was engaged in several battles and was finally 
commissioned Brigadier Gjncral. In 1865 he was nominated for 
Governor and was elected to that office; re-elected in 1867 ; was 
Railroad Commissioner for several years ; was in the pay of the 
United States Government as special agent of pine lands, and is 
now Land Commissioner of the Iron Range Railroad. 


Governor Marshall is a tall, slender man, with sandy whis- 
kers and rather small features, and is fearless and brave in his 
nature. He is generally sedate in expression and quite deliber- 
ate in speech. His head is bald, and his whole demeanor indi- 
cates a thoughtful man. Very few men have passed through so 
active a life as Governor Marshall. He has been swinging on 
the see-saw board of fate — a good many times up and a good 
many times down, yet he is energetic, persevering, cool, decided. 
He has filled many places of honor and of trust, and is now in 
comfortable circum.stances ; while he is much esteemed as a man 
and a citizen. 


The Democrat of May, 1 85 1 , said : 

*' About forty Sioux squaws with canoes, have been at work on the Missis- 
sippi for some time past, driving logs. ITiey I'eceive for tlaeir services about a dollar 
per day each. They are very expert canoe paddlers." 

They looked somewhat like our fancy boatmen of the pres- 
ent day who now paddle their boats on our river, but then the 
squaws were more thorough)}' dressed. 


When in the midst of the greatest rebellion known in the 
history of modern nations — when surrounded with cares, and 
trials, and responsibilities never before assumed by a chief magis- 
trate — when opposed by a great and brave military power, the 
off-shoot of one immense famil}* — when beset with danger from 
without and danger from within the Union army — when followed 
by the assassin and dogged by spies — when bravely and nobly 
and conscientiously performing his dut\' with a grand heart and 


a grand purpose, even right in the midst of his most inveterate 
foes — Abraham Lincoln uttered those memorable words which 
will forever go ringing down the corridors of Time and lose them- 
selves in the ocean of Eternity — " Malice toward none and 
CHARITY FOR ALL." The historian should rise above personal feel- 
ings and prejudices, and should endeavor to imitate the great 
patriot in his noble expression, and in delineation of character 
should clearl)' exemplify the motto — "Malice toward none and 
charity for all." Upon this basis Pen Pictures were started, and 
upon this basis they have struck a responsive chord in the popular 
heart, and upon this basis they will go to the world in book form, 
and upon this basis they will be best known in history. The 
bright side of life is the real life, and when I can say nothing 
good of a man I shall leave a blank where his name ought to 
appear ; but experience has taught me that many good deeds 
are often forgotten while some bad deeds are greatly magnified. 
I do not propose to mar an otherwise symmetrical career because 
I find upon it a few indifferent blemishes ; so, with " malice to- 
ward none and charity for all, I shall continue my Pen Pictures 
until the great Public calls — " Stop." 


The first stage in the shape of a two seated wagon, was run 
from St. Paul to St. Anthony by Messrs. Wiloughby & Powers, 
in the year 1849. In the fall they added a four-horse spring 
Avagon that would carry fourteen passengers, and in 1851 intro- 
duced the first stage coach ever run in Minnesota. It is still in 
existence, and is " as sound as a nut." In the fall of 185 i Ben- 
son & Pattison entered into competition with Willoughby & 
Powers, and two lines of stages were established between St. 
Paul and St. Anthony, one the " Red Line" and one the ** Yel- 
low," and the regular price of seventy-five cents was reduced to 
twenty-five cents. The opposition line went Willoughby & Pow- 
ers one better and reduced the fare to ten cents, and then the 
fun commenced. 


One day Wiloughby & Powers' coaches, filled with twenty 
passengers at ten cents per head, were reigned up in front of the 


old American House, where pay was usually taken, when one of 
the passengers wanted a drink. Willoughby, who was present, 
and who felt remarkably good over obtaining all the passengers 
for the Falls away from his competitors that day, treated the 
thirsty individual, when nineteen more passengers pounced upon 
the unfortunate proprietor, who, in the goodness of his heart, set 
them up to the tune of just ;sS3.oo, and as the aggregated fare for 
the twenty was only ^2.00, the stage company not only furnished 
the ride to St. Anthony for nothing but gave each passenger a 
good square drink and five cents apiece besides ! After the 
drinks the first man treated slapped Willoughby on the back and 
exclaimed — *' You are just the man for a new country — you must 
succeed." And he did succeed — the wrong way, for subse- 
quently both lines sold out to Alvaren Allen, and the firm be- 
came Allen & Chase, and then Burbank, Blakely & Merriam, 
and now it is Blakely & Carpenter. 


I v/ell remember, after returning from Washington in t86i, 
where I had been to receive the appointment of postmaster of St. 
Paul, (but where I had been politically sold, with many other 
good men,) — I say I well remember the smiling face and twink- 
ling eyes of Col. Allen at LaCrosse, who, after poking us up with 
buffalo robes and shutting the stage door, broke out into a hearty 
" Ha ! ha ! ha ! " 

"What's the matter?" I inquired. 

" 0-ho ! " said the Colonel, " the-them fe-fellows are go-going 
h-ho-home in the s-we-swearing c-car ! " and he again burst forth 
into one of the most unearthly laughs that ever emanated from a 
human stomach, which so frightened the horses that it set us 
whirling over the road at a very rapid speed, to the imminent 
danger of our lives. The Colonel ca7t laugh like a ten-horse 
steam engine ! 


Who does not remember the good old stage times of years 
ago? The preparation, the reality, the trip! With what delight 
one mounted the rocking vehicle ! With what ecstasy he snuffed 
the morning air! With what joy he hailed the country and its 
beautiful scenery ! With what pride he gazed on the leaders as 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 265 

they lifted their proud heads and capered on their way ! And 
then the driver ! how he held the ribbons, and cracked his whip, 
and grew big with importance, and bragged of his team, and 
came in ahead of time ! The landlord of the little country inn 
shook his sides with extreme pleasure as he saw the crowded 
stage gallantly making its way to his door ! And then such 
meals of salt pork, and fried potatoes, and boiled ham, and fried 
eggs, and stale bread, and pea coffee ! Nobody grumbled ; the 
charges were moderate, and even if the passenger didn't sleep the 
night before, he could doze away in the good old stage as it went 
rattling along to its destination ! The song, the joke, the story, the 
new acquaintance, — all gone, — how they come back to memory 1 
And that good, dear old stage, and that garrulous driver, and 
those glorious leaders, with blue ribbons in their head-gear, and 
the lovely country, and the running streams, and the crude 
bridges, and the blue-eyed girl, so angelic in the eyes of youth, 
and the way-side stopping places, and the early morning start, and 
the break-down in mud, and the delay, and the midnight meal, 
and the sound sleep ; aye, even the horn which announced our 
coming have all passed from our gaze forever and in their places 
have come the huge steam-engine, the dirty fireman, the active 
brakeman, the polite conductor, the Pullman sleepers, the palace 
dining cars, and whiz, whiz, whiz, away we go amid smoke, and 
cinders, and dust, to battle again with the material and business 
elements of life ! So, good-bye, old stage, old times, old associa- 
tions, old and delightful memories of a by-gone age ! Good-bye 
leaders, and drivers, and landlords, and country, and streams, 
and birds, and nature, and happiness, and joy, and girl, and fresh 
air, and good appetites, and health-inspiring vigor! — good-bye 1 
Like the old man who has carried many a burden, the old stage 
has been shoved out on to the frontier by newer and fresher 
blood, there to finally leave its bones amid the soil of a new 
people ! Good-bye ! 


Near where Gates A. Johnson's residence now stands, just 
beyond the house of D. W. IngersoU. was found on the morning 
of April 4, 1 85 1, the body of a dead Indian. Not far from this 
point was an encampment of Winnebagoes, and the Sheriff, with 


a body of soldiers, repaired thither to arrest the murderer and 
bring him to justice. While quietly cooking their evening meal 
the officer inquired of Che-en-u-\vaz-hee-kavv, or Standing Lodge, 
if he knew anything about the murder. '* Of course I do," he 
replied — " I killed him ! " He had been selected by his tribe to 
kill the Indian for some offense for which the penalty was death, 
and he had simply performed his duty according to the Indian 
idea and Indian custom. Standing Rock was arrested without 
any opposition on his part, incarcerated in Sheriff Lull's carpen- 
ter shop, and finally was held over to the grand jury which met 
in the middle of the month. He was released upon his word of 
honor that he would appear at the proper time, and notching a 
stick to number the days to be sure to be present when wanted, 
he went his way to hunt with his tribe. Very unexpectedly to 
everybody, he made his appearance at the first day of court sit- 
ting upon the doorstep, ready for his fate. Every day for a week 
he came and waited but his case could not be called. He was 
finally indicted by the grand jury, but never attempted to escape, 
and was at last discharged, leaving the white men with all their 
boasted chivalry with a manhood untarnished and a word of 
honor unimpeached. 


Gen. Van Etten was born about 1836; graduated at Union 
College in 1848-9; entered the law office of Hon. Samuel J. 
Wilkin, father of our Judge Wilkin ; was admitted to the bar in 
1 85 1 , and came St. Paul the same year ; was appointed Adjutant- 
General of the Territory of Minnesota by Gov. Gorman, in 1853, 
and held the office until 1858; was a member of the Territorial 
Council in 1853-4; formed a law partnership with the late Col. 
Alexander Wilkin in January, 1853, the latter retiring in the 
fall — the firm of Ames & Van Etten succeeding, the late Michael 
E. Ames being his partner. This firm became Ames, Van Etten 
& Officer, and afterwards Van Etten & Officer until 1 865. In 1 863 
he was appointed Consul of the United States to Jerusalem by the 
President through Gov. Seward, then Secretary of State, which 
appointment he declined. Gen. Van Etten retired from practice 
in 1 866 on account of a disease of theheart, but resumed practice 
in 1872 with Hon. L. Emmett. He died December 28, 1873. 


Mr. Van Etten was a tall, active man, full of life and anima- 
tion, and at the time I knew him was a great Democratic poli- 
tician. He was a devoted friend of the late Gov. Gorman and 
was at one time his Adjutant General. His tall and command- 
ing figure (though then quite young,) attracted attention, while 
his social qualities won him many friends. He was very active, 
impulsive, easily excited, yet back of all this there was a good, 
honest heart. He gravitated into politics as naturally as a child 
digs into sand, but several years before his death he abandoned 
politics and devoted his attention to business, and having, through 
others, lost considerable money, his health gave way and he 
died at about thirtv-seven \'ears of ai^^e. 


Mrs. Van Etten is yet quite a fine and young-looking lady, 
having, however, passed through much tribulation in the death 
of her husband, her father, and all her brothers. She is an 
excellent singer, and though among the last of her family is as 
amiable, and as pleasant, and indeed almost as young, as when 
many years ago I first met her as simply Miss Jane Oakes. 

A thoughtful writer has said, that if " we die to-day the sun 
will shine as brightly and the birds will sing as sweetly to-mor- 
row. Business will not be suspended a moment, and the great 
mass will not bestow a thought upon our memories. * Is he 
dead?' will be the solemn inquiry of a few as they pass to work. 
No one will miss us except our immediate connections, and in a 
short time they will forget and laugh as merrily as when we sat 
beside them. Thus shall we all, now active in life, pass away. 
Our children crawl close behind us, and they will soon be gone. 
In a few years not a living being can say, ' I remember.' We 
lived in another age and did business with those who slumber in 
the tomb. This is life. How rapidly it passes." 

*'Our friends are waiting for us, 

The loved, the tried, the true, 
But time's frail, misty curtain 

Now hides them from our view; 
Tliey've reached the quiet harbor — ■ 

Not lost, but gone before, 
And now they wait to greet us 

Upon the distant shore." 


"just mv luck." 

An old settler of St. Paul who was given somewhat to 
profanity, took the cars years ago at Dubuque, Iowa, for the 
East — then there were no railroad lines in Minnesota — and when 
seated in the coach he indulged quite freely in profane remarks. 
Just back of him was a young minister, now of St. Paul, (the 
name I suppress,) who, after a while became uneasy and beliex- 
ing that now was a good time to save a soul, reached over and 
patting the profane man on the back, exclaimed — " My friend, 
you are on the road to h — 11 ! " " Is that so ? " asked the old 
settler, "that's just my d — n luck — I bought a ticket for Roch- 


After J. C. Burbank dissolved with Wm. Constans (as they 
both were in the express business originally,) Mr. Burbank made 
a specialty of the express enterprise, became his own messenger, 
and in 1851 the business began to increase largely. Several 
partnerships were formed and dissolved, when C. T. Whitney 
united with Burbank and added to the business that of forward- 
ing and commission merchants. In 1854 regular messengers 
were employed and the business constantly increased, and has 
continued to increase ever since, and from a small beginning has 
grown to a gigantic enterprise. The leading figure in this move- 
ment was J. C. Burbank, and he may very properly be denomi- 
nated as the father of the express business in Minnesota. 


Shakespeare says : 

* ' Our douljts are traitors, which make us lose the good 
We oft mii;ht win, by fearing to attempt." 

Years ago the old settler had great doubts as to the growth 
of St. Paul ; great doubts as to the ultimate value of the land 
upon which the present city is built; doubts as to its population; 
doubts as to its commercial importance; doubts as to its railroad 
interests ; and so, many of them, " fearing to attempt," lost much 
good financially they might otherwise have won. Many of these 
doubts have disappeared in the march of time, but then the old 
settler is not as supple and as ambitious as he was twenty-five 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN, 209 


years ago, nor does he care as much for money as he did then. 
He fears to venture. He has seen many of the ups and downs 
in Hfe. He halts; he hesitates; he quibbles ; he doubts ; when 
a young and inexperienced scion from the, with his papa's 
money, jumps over his head and takes the prize. The old settler 
simply submits, and philosophically exclaims — " Just my d — n 


Up to this year the Sioux Indians owned all the land on the 
west side of the Mississippi river, but a treaty was made with 
them on the 23d of July, 185 1, at Traverse des Sioux, whereby 
they ceded 21,000,000 acres of land to the United States, and 
this land is now covered with villages, towns, cities, railroad 
tracks, farms, energy, enterprise and capital, and where will one 
day arise an empire that will astonish the world. 01 course 
there was great rejoicing over the treaty because the land would 
be open to settlement, the traders would get their money due 
from the Indians, and the Indians themselves would have money 
to expend with the whites. It was the opening of a new era in 
the history of the Northwest ; it meant, to push the Indians on to 
the frontier; it was, as Goodhue then wrote in 185 1, the intro- 
duction of " farms with their fences, and white cottages, and 
waving wheat-fields, and vast jungles of rustling maize, and vil- 
lages, and cities crowned with spires, and railroads with trains of 
cars rumbling afar off — and now nearer and nearer the train 
comes thundering across the bridge into St. Paul, fifteen hours 
from St. Louis on the way to Lake Superior." All of this has 
been realized and more too, in thirty-four years, and many of 
those who attended that treaty still live as witnesses of this 
unparalleled growth. The Sioux Indians have been swept out- 
side of the borders of Minnesota since 1 851, and still the tide of 
civilization rolls on. 


Rt. Rev. Joseph Cretin was consecrated Bishop on the 26th 
of January, 1851, and arrived in St. Paul on the 2d of July of 
the same year, or thirty-four years ago. Since the days of the 
good Father Galtier, the first priest, the Catholic Church had 


grown to large proportions, and it became necessary to have a 
Bishop to direct its movements. Father Ravoux, who took the 
place of Rev. Galtier in 1844, speaking of Bishop Cretin, says: 

" All those who have been well acquainted with him are convinced that he con- 
stantly walked in the footsteps of Saint Paul, by zeal, piety, charity, humility, 
incessant labor and patience in sufferings; not only after his consecration, but also 
when a priest, when in the seminaire and in the college. He put immediately his 
hand to the plow, and, faithful to the advice of our Saviour, did not look behind. He 
knew for whom he worked, and however difficult the task miglit be, supported by 
Divine grace, he was always cheerful. Before the lapse of five months after hi> 
arrival in St. Paul, he erected on block seven, in vSt. Paul proper, a brick build- 
ing, eighty-four feet long by forty-four wide, three stories and a half high, including 
the basement. That building became immediately the second Cathedral of St. Paul, 
and also the second residence of the Rt. Rev. Bishop, of his priests and semina- 
rians; and in a few months after some apartments of the basement were used as. 
school-room for boys. The young girls were also to be provided with Catholic 
schools, and in 1852 the Sisters of St. Joseph devoted themselves in St. Paul to 
the holy work of their institute, and they opened their schools on the property of 
the church on Third street. (This is the same ground now occupied by the Pio7ieer 
Press office and other buildings.)" 


Good Father Ravoux continues his narrative : 

"After the Bishop's departure for France, aware of the necessity of securing 
some lots for the Cathedral and other purposes, I bought of Mr. Vetal Guerin 
twenty-one lots for $800, and for $100 the lot on whicli now stands the Cathedral. 
This last I bought of another person who had already some lumber on the ground 
for a building. He had bought the same on credit of Mr. Guerin for $60. He 
deeded me that lot for $40 profit. I considered the purchase of the twenty-two lot.s 
a very good bargain for the church, as also a good one for Mr. Guerin, because it 
was understood that the Cathedral and other buildings w uld be erected on block 
seven, and such improvements would increase the value of Mr. Cruerin's property. 
The event proved that I was not deceived in my expectation. The Right Rev. 
Bishop after his return from France, paid the money for the twenty-two lots and. 
received the deed; I had but a bond for the security of our bargain." 

These twenty-two lots which cost S900 in 1851, are now 
worth not less than $500,000, possibly $800,000, so Father Ra- 
voux made a most excellent bargain for the church. If I under- 
stand the matter the property runs from Sixth street on Wa- 
basha to Seventh ; from Seventh to St. Peter ; from St. Peter to 
Sixth, and from Sixth to Wabasha, including the old Cathedral, 
the new Cathedral, the residence of the Bishop, schools, stores, 
etc. It is now in the heart of the city and is a very valuable 
piece of property. 



Of the death of this good man Father Ravoux says : 

"The Right Rev. Bishop died on the 22d of February 1857. His illness had 
been very long and painful, but he always continued to be the good and faithful ser- 
vant of God, bearing with the greatest patience all his sufferings. More than once 
when his pains Avere most intense, I heard him exclaim — 'It is good for me to 
suffer for my sins. As I cannot work I, at least, ought to offer my pains to God for 
the faithful and for all.' " 

The writer well remembers the funeral of Bishop Cretin. 
It was the largest ever held in the city up to that time. The 
priests, the children, the mournful music, the sincere mourners, 
the immense procession as it moved slowly along our streets, 
demonstrated the great esteem in which the Rev. Bishop was 
held. Indeed I have seen many large funerals since then, 
but none so solemn, and so imposing, and so sincere, and so 
grand, as that which conveyed to the tomb all that remained of 
the once greatly esteemed Bishop Cretin. 

Bishop Cretin was a fine and intellectual looking man, with 
a very pleasant face, and a serene yet subdued expression. He 
was partially bald, wore glasses and had all the politeness of the 
French. He dressed in his ministerial garments, and was very 
devotedly attached to the church of which he was the honored 


Capt. Russell Blakely may be said to have originated this 
business, having sold out his interest with J. C. Burbank & Co. 
and taken a contract to transport goods from New York to the 
Red River of the North, and thence to Hudson Bay. He with 
others built the first steamer on the Red river and carried on the 
business successfully some years, when J. C. & Henry C. Bur- 
bank followed it up quite extensively. This branch of trade was 
of great benefit to St. Paul as well as to St. Cloud, and was only 
abandoned when pushed out by railroads. 


This year 102 Red river carts made their way to St. Paul. 
These carts were on two wheels only and were composed entirely 
of wood and leather, no iron whatever being used about them. 
To them were hitched singly oxen with raw-hide harnesses, and 


the train would come into the city in single file accompanied with 
half-breed drivers, fantastically dressed. As no oil or grease was 
used about the axles the squeaking noise these carts made was 
enough to drive a Christian mad. They brought in furs and 
carried back some gold, with groceries and provisions. In 1858 
about 600 of these carts came to the city, and then the trade 
began to decrease. The time consumed on the journey from 
Pembina to St. Paul was usually thirty days, sometimes longer, 
according to the condition of the roads. 

Pemmican is a preparation of raw buffalo meat, dried^ 
pounded and mixed with tallow, and then pressed into a bag 
made from a buffalo hide. It was the principal sustenance of the 
Red river men who accompanied the carts, and though unpalat- 
able to a man who gets tender-loin beef-steak at our hotels, yet 
it was essential and valuable food for those whose business it 
was to navigate our plains. 

And so these singular vehicles of commerce have disap- 
peared, and even the stage and the steamboat that took their 
places to a degree, have been supplanted by the irrepressible 
railroad train that now precedes even the march of civilization 
and pushes the Indian race on to the extreme borders of the 
American continent. These elements of the past have only com- 
bined to make St. Paul the focal point of an immense trade, 
and this with her railroad interests and a population of 120,000, 
place her pre-eminently before the world as the great city of the 
new Northwest. 


Colonel Allen was born in the State of New York in 1822 ; 
moved with his father on a farm in Wisconsin in 1837, ^vhere he 
remained five years ; attended the high school in Beloit during 
the winter, and drove team summers to pay his way ; clerked in 
a retail store for two years ; in a jobbing house in Milwaukee for 
three years ; left for Dubuque, Iowa, and arrived at St. Paul in 
1851 ; visited St. Anthony ; fell in love with the P'alls and the 
country surrounding ; loaned a gentleman his team to go to St. 
Paul, for which he received $5, tlien the next day $\o, and then 
the Colonel exclaimed — "Wife, I've struck it; livery is our busi- 
ness ;" and immediately four horses and three wagons followed the 


single team, and Allen was on the road to wealth and to glory. 
Seeing that he had struck a lead, he then added the veterinary 
practice, and in this he was as successful as in the livery business, 
receiving as high as ^50 for curing a single horse in the last stages 
of disease ; in five years he had a stable of fifty horses, carriages, 
wagons, harnesses, and in 1856 purchased the stage line and 
mail route of Patterson, Benson & Ward, but subsequently sold 
one-half interest to C. L. Chase, then Secretary of the Territory, 
and they jointly secured the route from St. Paul to St. Anthony 
for $21,000. In 1859, in connection with the owners of the 
Northwestern Express Company, the firm started the line xrom 
St. Paul to La Crosse, and soon after consolidated, thus crippling 
contemplated opposition and making J. C. Burbank manager. A 
party of stage men, however, came on to St. Paul to establish a 
line, and after losing ;^7 5,000, withdrew, leaving the field to the 
old company. 

Col. Allen followed the stage business up to 1859 when he 
entered railroading, which he continued through 1873, and then 
purchased Col. Shaw's interest and lease in the Merchants hotel 
for ;$40,ooo ; he then bought the hotel itself of Col. Potter for 
;$275,ooo, and has added largely to its accommodations since 
then, making its present value not far from $500,000. 

Col. Allen was the second Mayor of St. Anthony ; has been 
Alderman for four terms, or eight years, of the city of St. Paul, 
and president of the Council four years. 


In early days he made a claim where Minneapolis now is, 
of 160 acres of land, the same ground upon which the Harvester 
Works are built. He sold this claim for $5,000; worth $1,000,- 
000; purchased two lots on Dayton avenue, with a small house, 
where he made his home, for $1,600; sold the same for $12,000; 
worth $15,000; bought of Mr. Rhiel his residence on Dayton 
avenue for $13,500, finished it up and sold the property for $34,- 
000 ; worth $45 ,000. 

Col. Allen is always cool. I never saw him in a hurry, and 
yet he accomplishes a great deal of labor and runs his huge 
mammoth eating establishment like clock-work. 



Burdick is a character, but as I can't catch him as he is I 
shall have to catch him on the fly. He was born in Michigan in 
1834; had a common school education; came to St. Paul in 
1851 ; from Elgin to Galena he supposed he was to ride in the 
stage, but " walked half the way and carried a rail the other 
half; " paid the captain of a steamer to St. Paul his last nickel ; 
" struck the town a pauper," so he says ; went to H. M. Rice for 
a loan ; got it ; started up the couiitry and brought up at Watab ; 
some time afterwards read law with Rice, Hollinshead & Becker ; 
didn't think he would make a lawyer and gave it up ; clerked 
for S. B. Lowry at Watab in the winter of 1852-3 ; went to Pem- 
bina in 1853; wintered in 1854-5 ^^ S^- Joseph, thirty miles west 
of Pembina; hunted buffalo in the summer of 1855 ; in that fall 
was elected a member of the Territorial Legislature representing 
more counties than people; in 1856 went into the general trading 
business at Watab ; the crash came and wiped him out ; entered 
the service of Mr. Kittson ; took charge of his Red river wooden 
carts, and continued with him up to 1862; came down from the 
P'ort Garry country with a company of eight, only three of whom 
are living; entered the services of the Stage Company in 1863, 
and continued up to 1865 ; that year engaged with the Hudson 
Bay Company; continued with them five years'; ran a store in 
Winnipeg; was there when the rebellion broke out in 1869-70; 
was imprisoned by the order of Riel ; but was so well acquainted 
with the French half-breeds and spoke their language so accu- 
rately, that Riei couldn't get them to hold him and he was 
released ; had charge of men in i ci/o to build a United States fort 
at Pembina ; in 1871 was in the employ of H. C. Burbank, ship- 
ping goods under contract of Hudson Bay Company; w^as in the 
employ of the St. Paul and Pacific P^levator Company in 1872 ; 
moved to Willmar in 1873; was with Commodore Davidson in 
1877, as "general utility" man; was employed by the Millers' 
Association at Minneapolis in 1879, ^^^^ remained with them u\) 
to 1 88 1 ; then \\as employed by A. B. Stickney to take charge 
of a body of men to explore and survey a pass in the Rocky 
Mountains 900 miles west from Winnipeg ; two years after this he 
went to the same place in a Pullman car; and was finally in the 

OF ST. PAUL, MINN. . 27. y 

employ of the Canadian Pacific Railroad Company as supply 
agent. Mr. Burdick is the father of six children, five of whom 
still live. 


Mr. Burdick says that in the winter of 1855 the Indians 
were very troublesome in the settlement of St. Joseph where he 
was then living, making frequent raids upon the settlers, stealing 
horses and killing such of the inhabitants as could be found away 
from the village. Mrs. Spencer, wife of a missionary, was killed 
by them that summer, and when discovered she was lying upon 
the floor dead, with two children, three and five years old, sitting 
on each side of her body, and a babe upon her bosom whose 
face was all bloody from its efforts to secure nourishment. The 
citizens got track of a party of Indians that summer and followed 
the trail ; met and killed four out of seven, and two more of the 
remaining three were slain by hunters on the plains, so Mrs. 
Spencer's death was avenged, but it did not bring back the dead 
mother to the poor little children. 


In the winter of 1854-5 Burdick made a trip from Pembina 
to Crow Wing with dogs and on snow-shoes. The first day out 
the dogs broke into the provisions and devoured all there was, 
leaving the party to exist on tea and rotten fish the rest of the 
trip, but they came out alive though considerably emaciated. 

Although fifty years of age yet Mr. Burdick is as vigorous 
and as active as a person of thirty years. He has been a great 
roamer ; is bubbling all over with fun ; is full of magnetism, 
with a well developed physical organization capable of enduring 
almost any amount of exposure and fatigue. He is an off-hand, 
humorous, kind-hearted gentleman, and can show a record of 
experiences in the Northwest that can discount any other traveler. 
He now resides in this city, and is chief State Inspector of Wheat. 


Mr. Hough was born in New York in 1 827 ; came to St. 
Paul in 1851 ; was appointed Deputy Clerk of the District Court 
of Ramsey County, which office he held until i860, when he was 
elected Register of Deeds for two years; in 1854 was elected 


the first Cit}* Clerk of St. Paul for two years ; chosen City 
Comptroller in 1857, which office he soon resigned; was again 
appointed Deputy Clerk of the District Court of Ramsey County 
from 1863 to 1865 ; in 1866 was elected Clerk of the Supreme 
Court of the State, holding that office byre-election three terms ; 
has been Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer of the I. O. O. F. 
of the State of Minnesota for some ten years ; has been a Di- 
rector in the St. Paul Building Association, the first organization 
of the kind in this State ; also one of the incorporators and a 
member of the board of trustees of the Minnesota O. F. M. B. 
Society, from its organization in 1870, for many years thereafter; 
in 1 876 commenced the book and stationery business and has 
been engaged in it ever since. 

Mr. Hough has been a great Odd Fellow all his life, and 
has filled many offices of honor and of trust in that society. He 
is a man of ordinary size, quiet in his manners, very attentive to 
business, and much devoted to his family. An unfortunate dis- 
ability in the use of one limb prevents him from mingling much 
with his fellow-men, and yet he is social and pleasant to all who 
know him, and is a quiet cititizen. 

L. E. REED. 

Mr. Reed was born in Massachusetts in 1830; removed to 
Ohio when three years old : came to St. Paul in 1851 ; went to 
Long Prairie with a missionary, where he worked on the gov- 
ernment farm; in the fall of 1851 walked the whole distance 
from Long Prairie to St. Paul, or 140 miles; taught school 
about fifteen miles north of Freeport; returned to St. Paul in 
1852 ; hired out to a carpenter to do rough work. 


His first duty was to build a fence around Gov. Ramsey's 
lot. He went at it but in driving the nails broke every other 
one, which attracted the attention of the Governor, who, on 
appearing before young Reed told him that he was destroying 
more nails than his day's wages came to. 

"Well," said Reed, "these nails are not good." 
"Yes they are," said the Governor, "but you don't know 
how to drive them." 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 277 

" But these nails came from Pittsburg, and they are not 
worth a tinker's snap." 

'' Oh-ho ! young man," said the Governor, " these nails are 
good, but you don't strike them right. Give me the hammer ; 
I'm an old cabinet-maker, and I'll show you how to driv^e nails," 
and the Governor drove every nail without a break, to the utter 
astonishment of Reed. 

" Now, young man," said the Governor, *' what have you 
been in the habit of doing ? " 

"Well," said Reed, "I have been working on a farm/' his 
face longer than the board he was trying to adjust on the rail of 
the fence. 

" Take this order," said the Governor ; '* go out to my farm 
near Lake Como ; go to work and I will pay you $;^$ per month," 
and Mr. Reed did so. 



Here Mr. Reed drove the first reaping machine ever in the 
State of Minnesota, and as four horses were attached to it he was 
prouder then than at any other period of his life. Jus Ramsey 
had an ugly horse that could not be used, but Reed put a Span- 
ish bit on him, hitched him in with the others, and he worked 
thereafter as docile as a child. Indeed the horse and the 
machine were great curiosities and many visited the field to see 
the animal and to observe the machine cut the grain, not only 
that of the Governor's but of the neighbors' at large. 

While at Long Prairie one night, the Indians stole two 
horses. Reed went in pursuit of them and coming up with the 
thieves sought to get back the stolen animals, when one of the 
Indians fired his pistol at him and the powder flew into Reed's 
face. Nothing daunted he knocked the Indian down, secured 
his pistol and its paraphernalia, and was about moving away 
when another Indian knocked him dow^i. Recovering himself 
he seized the horses and mounting his own, started on a full 
gallop, when all of a sudden the animal he was riding gav^e a 
jump and he discovered an Indian lying by the way-side who, as 
he passed, had tried to seize his legs, but Reed eluded him and 
came into camp triumphantly. After that he became a great 
favorite with the red men, and on one occasion they dressed him 


up as a brave, put rings on his wrists, painted his face and greatly 
honored him as a Big Indian Chief. 


On the Fourth of July, 1852, it was agreed that the best way 
to celebrate the day was to entertain strangers at the residences 
of citizens, so J. \V. Bass took twenty, somebody else ten, and 
Deacon Cavender ten. Among those who went with Cavender 
was Reed. Fifteen years afterwards Reed ran for Alderman in 
the same ward in which Cavender lived, and finding out that 
Cavender was about to vote against him, Reed addressed him as 
follows : 

" Cavender, you are not going to vote against me ? " 

" Yes, I am." 

" But you wouldn't vote against a friend you once enter- 
tained at dinner ? " 

" You never took dinner with me." 

" Yes, I did." 

" Prove it and I will vote for you," said Cavender, and Reed 
did prove it, even telling him what they had for dinner fifteen 
}ears before. 

'* Give me your hand and a ticket," said Cavender, " I'll vote 
for you for an}' office you may run for as long as I live," and he 
did, only regretting that he could not do the same favor to the 
other nine who sat down to his hospitable table on the Fourth 
of July, 1852. 


Young Reed drifted back to Illinois in 1852 and taught 
school where he had been the year before, and then on his way 
out to St. Paul he stopped at a small town ; bought a farm with 
a crop on it ; cleared ^$7,000 ; married a well-to-do young lady ; 
traveled south ; came back to St. Paul; loaned out about 38,000; 
crash came in 1857 ; lost it all ; was aided by Mr. P'.dgerton to 
get on to his feet again ; became a street broker ; paddled along 
for three \'ears ; had his ups and downs ; was Alderman eight 
years and president of the Council one term ; became engaged in 
the banking business with the Thompson Brothers, as far back 
as 1862; then with the First National Bank in 1863, with which 


institution he was connected several years, and in 1873 became 
its vice-president ; was once a partner of William Dawson, the 
firm being Dawson & Company, and continued such for four 
years ; was vice-president of the City Bank three years, and is 
now president of the Capital Bank of this city. Mr. Reed has 
been in the banking business twenty-five years. 


In 1852 Mr. Reed purchased a lot on Wabasha street 
adjoining the Market, for which he paid ^400; sold for $4,000; 
worth $15,000; fifteen years ago he bought two lots and a house 
on the corner of Sibley and Sixth streets, for which he paid 
$5,000; worth now $50,000; in 185 1 one lot on Fifth street for 
$225 ; now worth $20,000. These are onl}' a few items of his 
real estate transactions. 

Mr. Reed is a fine-looking man, with a well-developed head 
and a clear, black eye. He is very deliberate in his speech, 
thinks before he gives utterance to his thoughts, and is quite an 
impressional conversationalist. He takes to banking naturally ; 
looks upon money as a tangibility, the same as real estate or 
other property, and acting upon this basis makes his calculations. 
He is far-seeing in his movements, and yet very cautious — is 
pretty sure when he moves to move right. He is quiet ; never 
rants ; is self-poised ; pleasant ; and yet when animated he draws 
down his mouth in a peculiar way which belongs only to Mr. 
Reed. He never forgets his friends. He gives quietly but with 
discrimination, and is a first-class citizen. In all matters of 
finance his advice is generally sought and his opinion is greatly 
esteemed. Mr. Reed's gradual ascent from a farm boy to that 
of a successful banker, is full of good lessons for the young, and 
this little yet interesting sketch of his life ought to leave an excel- 
lent impression. 


Mr. Marvin was born in England in 1817, and is now the 
only surviving member of a large family. Descended on the 
mother's side from Scottish covenanters and on the father's from 
a line of English non-conformists, the principles of civil and 
religious liberty became an ingrained sentiment with him in his 


early boyhood, and he shared in and to this day remembers the • 
exciting times of CathoHc emancipation and the first Reform bill. 
His education was chiefly receiv^ed in a classical boarding" 
school in his native town taught by Rev. James Buckham. He 
was taken away from school in his fourteenth year against the 
protest of his tutor, and just when he had become intensel}- inter- 
ested. His old tutor is still living and in good possession of his 
faculties^ in his ninety-first year, and scholar and teacher still 
correspond with each other. 


In 1837, at twenty years of age, Mr. M. was married to- 
Hannah, daughter of Mr. Charles Reading, deceased, of War- 
wick, England. Residing after their marriage for some time in 
Henley, in Arden, in Warwickshire, they removed to Leam- 
ington in the same county, where they lived for some seven years. 
They came to Cincinnati in the spring of 1845, ^^^^ M^"- ^^• 
remembers well a visit he made to Professor Stowe, at Lane 
Seminary, and where he had the pleasure of dining with him and 
his since celebrated wife. The Professor had just returned from 
England, and he spoke of points of interest so numerous in the 
locality fr6m which Mr. M. came, Warwick Castle especially, 
that it brought up many scenes of by-gone days. It was stated 
that the Earl of Warwick's rent roll was some ^^40,000 per year, 
and yet he was poor. Mrs. Stowe, turning to her husband said — 
" You see you are not the only poor man in the world." After 
remaining in Cincinnati some six years and having gone through 
two very severe cholera seasons, he decided to come to St. Paul,. 
and arrived here in 185 i. His advent in St. Paul was very for- 
tunate ; his health had been broken; but here he found an entire 
change and the commencement of a career of health such as he 
had not known for years. 

attempt at farming — BUSINESS. 

In the first season he made an attempt at farming on a place 
of 123 acres, which he had purchased for a small sum on the 
west side of Phelen's lake. Being a novice at the business he 
discontinued it and rented a few acres of it for some years to a 

OF ST, PA UL, MINN. 281 

tenant. He continued to be the owner of the same place for 
twenty-foLir years. 

In the fall of 1851 Mr. M. leased a lot on Third street on 
which the First National Bank building was erected some years 
later. He put up a building upon it and opened a retail china 
and glassware store. In 1855 he erected a brick building on 
Third street (which is still standing, and which has been occu- 
pied till a short time ago by McGee's restaurant,) and in this he 
carried on his business for several years. He subsequently mo\'ed 
into the building once occupied by Wm. Lee's wholesale dry- 
goods house, previously to which his son had entered into part- 
nership with him. 


Some years before the spring of 1857, ^^- ^- had taken a 
trip to England for the double purpose of visiting old scenes and 
associations and establishing a direct trade with the Staffordshire 
potteries. He purchased what was then accounted a large stock, 
some sixty crates of ware ; shipped via New Orleans to St. Paul 
under bond. After his return from England came on the terri- 
ble financial revulsion of 1857, which cost him nearly all he was 
worth, yet straitened as he was he continued to import and his 
credit remained unimpaired with his English correspondents, and 
in the meantime his trade had become mainly a jobbing business. 
The war which subsequently came on put a bar on importation, 
and was the cause of great loss to him. 

The real estate which he had purchased at an early day is 
now worth some sixty or seventy thousand dollars. He is now 
in his sixty-ninth year and has gone through mental experiences 
which have bankrupted his courage. 


Mr. Marvin was elected Alderman of the city at its first 
municipal election ; has been for thirty-three years an elder in 
the Presbyterian Church; in 1875 was made treasurer of Oak- 
land Cemetery Association, of which he had previously been a 
trustee, which position he has filled acceptably and successfully 
for nine years, and has the gratification of seeing the cemetery 


which has been for many years very sacred to him, increasingly 
beautiful and faithfully guarded from vandal desecration. 

Mr. M. has been married forty-seven years and the wife of 
his youth is still the companion of his age. His children, four 
in number, one-half of his original family, are all married, and 
live in St. Paul. They and their children form a valued and 
affectionate circle where he finds a pleasant and ever-recurring 


He is quick, earnest, sensitive, active, honorable, honest, 
religious ; was an unflinching, outspoken anti-slavery man when 
it was very unpopular to be so, and lives more in the past and in 
the future, than in the present. He has a highly poetical tem- 
perament, and has produced some fine poetry, of which the fol- 
lowing is an extract of some thirteen hundred lines written some 
three years ago : 

" The heart its own bitterness truly may know, 
Yet knows not its share in the causes of woe; 
Man hides from himself in dust of the fight, 
And oft in the wrong will deem himself right; 
Will parry and thrust with passion for guide, 
'Till truth shall fold pinion and stoop to his pride. 

*' There shall be a day when to know and be known. 
And problems now dark shall all be his own; 
From thence, looking back on the drama of life, 
Amazed, he shall glance o'er its causes of strife, 
When fools had wrought folly, and wise men had smiled, 
And echoed the folly, by folly beguiled." 

H. L. MOSS. 

Mr. Moss was born in New York in 1819; graduated at 
Union College in 1840; studied law and admitted to practice in 
1842; removed to Wisconsin and resided there several years, 
when, in 1848 he moved to Stillwater; was appointed United 
States District Attorney in 1849 for the Territory of Minnesota, 
and held the office four years; removed to St. Paul in 1851, 
where he has resided ever since ; in 1863 he was again appointed 
United States District Attorney, and held that position up to 
1868, since which time he has been engaged in the insurance 
business. Mr. Moss aided in the organization of the Territory 


and rendered valuable services at Washington in getting through 
our land-grant bills. 


Mr. Moss is a fleshy, easy, good-natured, pleasant gentleman, 
and by industry has built up a large and profitable insurance 
business. In early years he was disposed to speculate in new 
towns with Messrs. Freeborn & Daniels, but of late years has 
eiven his attention almost exclusiveh' to his business. He is 
quiet, undemonstrative, and yet when drawn out in conversation 
is a good talker, and when somewhat animated, rolls his eyes up 
towards you in a very peculiar manner. He is deliberate in his 
movements ; quiet in his every-day life ; but still is always busy 
doing something. He believes in the doctrine that one can get 
through the world fast enough without hurrying, and in this he 
is right. Some men are like little dogs, constant!)' running about 
to catch something and never succeeding, while other men move 
right along and accomplish a good deal. Mr. Moss enjoys about 
as much of life as most men, and is respected and esteemed for 
his many good qualities. 


Among the first churches the writer attended soon after 
bringing back to St. Paul a wife from Albany, N. Y., in 1857, 
was ** the little church around the corner " of Ninth and Tem- 
perance streets, which was erected in 1858. It was the first 
Congregational Church in St. Paul, and its organization was 
due chiefly to the faith and puritan zeal of Deacon P. W. 

Mr. Nichols was born in Massachusetts in 1806, and came 
to St. Paul in 1851 in search of health. He was a retiring, un- 
assuming man of more than ordinary intellectual ability. He 
laid foundations for the advancement of the human family in 
many quiet ways, but it was in organizing and fostering Plymouth 
Church that his influence in moulding the life of the young city 
was chiefly felt. He died in 1863. Mrs. Nichols survived him 
nearly twenty years, and passed away in 1883, beloved b}' all 
who knew her, a most beautiful example of a serene Christian 
old age. 


Their son and daughter live in St. Paul. Miss Kate 
Nichols is a young lady of superior ability, while her brother is 
a quiet, honest, unassuming man. 


Major Spencer (who justly derives his title from being In- 
dian agent,) was born in Kentucky in 1832 ; educated at Ashburs' 
Academy in Indiana ; clerked in a hardware store at Terrc 
Haute; came to St. Paul in 1851 ; was engaged by A. L. Lar- 
penteur for eight years, and as Larpenteur's trade was mostly 
with the red men, here he became intimateh' acquainted with 
the Indians, their language, their mode of living, and here he 
made a friendship with Chaska, (oldest son or first born,) who 
subsequently sa\cd his life ; was once partner with Major Forbes, 
who did a general Indian business at a trading post on the west 
side of Big Stone lake; was there until just before the breaking 
out of the Indian massacre in 1862 ; was at this time at the Red 
Wood agency procuring supplies, and having made his purchases 
was getting ready to go home, when he noticed a number of In- 
dians in town who appeared to be on the war-path ; didn't suspect 
anything wrong ; didn't apprehend an)- danger; was standing in 
the door of Maj. Forbes' store, when he observed that the Indians 
were surrounding all the buildings, but his fears were dispelled 
when they told him that they were in search of Chippewas who 
had been seen in that vicinity only a few days before. 


While thus looking unsuspectingly upon the scene, the Amer- 
ican colors on P^orbes' flag-staff were run up, as they usually were 
every morning, (and as it appeared afterward, this was the signal 
for the Indians to commence the fight,) when instantly from four 
to five hundred Indians opened fire upon ever}^body and everv- 
thing within their reach, and the whites fell in every direction. 
Spencer was hit in the right arm. then in the breast, the ball 
striking a rib and glancing off; then in the abdomen, tearing 
open the flesh and making a frightful wound. He staggered to 
the stairs, closed the door after him and barred it, crawled up t<^ 
the floor and threw himself upon a bed, while below he could 
hear the crack of the Indian rifles, the horrible yells of the war- 



riors and the groans of the dying. All was in a terrible state 
of confusion. In the room in which he lay were guns and am- 
munition, and this the Indians knew, so they dared not venture as 
they were well aware that Spencer could dispute the passage of 
the stairway, and they knew he had weapons to do it with. 


While lying upon the bed conscious that his time had come 
to die, he heard a thumping at the door, and recognizing the voice 
of Chaska — with whom he had fished and hunted when mere 
boys together — Spencer got up and though very weak, descended 
the stairs, opened the door and then went back to his bed. 
Chaska came up, approached the bed ; asked him if he were 
much hurt; if he thought he would live, and putting his arm 
about him conducted him down stairs, where they confronted a 
gang of Indians who were panting for his blood. Chaska in- 
stantly threw himself in front of his friend, exclaiming — " I will 
save this man's life, and whoever hurts him, hurts me; stand 
back ! " And notwithstanding he was the head warrior of Little 
Crowd's band, and a man of great influence with the tribe, yet so 
terribly excited were the Indians that one of them snapped his 
gun at Spencer twice, but fortunately it did not go off; and then 
another Indian made for -him with a fixed determination to kill 
him, but Chaska drew his tomahawk, and in a minute more 
would have slain the assailant, but he and others being afraid 
withdrew, and Spencer and his friends made for the grass, when 
he was again set upon by an Indian who informed Chaska that 
it was well understood that not a white person was to be saved, 
but Chaska replied — " This man is my friend and he shall live, 
so be gone," and fearing instant death, as he well knew the de- 
termined character of Chaska, he left to carry on his murderous 
career somewhere else. 


Spencer lay in the grass in pain, when Ta-ti, Chaska's wife, 
and another squaw made their appearance, and they were in- 
structed to remain with him and care for him until Chaska could 
get a horse and wagon to convey him to his tepee. While the 
women were bending, over him they were discovered by the 


Indians who again wanted to kill him, but the squaws saved his 
life. And then, as he lay there, writhing in intense agony, he 
was attacked with an insatiable thirst for water, and he made up 
his mind that he might as well die from the bullets of the Indians 
as from the internal fire which was consuming him, so he broke 
away from the squaws and with great effort made for a house 
near by, where the Indians had driven a poor settler up into his 
loft, and were then trying to kill him. Spencer passed right by 
these Indians who were watching the man to get a shot at him : 
saw a pail filled with water, seized the dipper, and after emptying' 
it twice, came out of the house as he went in with a dipper of 
water in his hand unmolested, the Indians no doubt thinking, from 
the blood they saw, that he would soon die. Chaska made his 
appearance with a one-horse wagon ; loaded it out of the goods 
taken from Forbes' store, and on top of the tepee cloth thus 
obtained, placed Spencer, and at the end of four miles landed 
him in the lodge of his necarniss, or best friend. When about 
two miles on the way another body of Indians met them and 
wanted to kill Spencer, but Chaska fought them off. Then again 
during the time he was in the tent of Chaska many sought his 
life, especially after some Indian had been killed by the whites, 
but silent, solemn, sullen, determined, Chaska sat with his gun 
in his hand, ready to kill the first man who entered his tepee 
door. And thus poor Spencer was nursed and tenderly cared 
for for six weeks and then delivered to Gen. Sibley safely, by this 
noble Indian, who had shown undaunted courage and unpar- 
alleled devotion to his friend. It is sad to think that Chaska 
was subsequently poisoned while on the Indian expedition, either 
purposely or accidentally, and his bones now lie on the great 
plains of Dakota, but one can never forget him or his memory, 
and that one is — Major George H. Spencer. 


Major Spencer was chief clerk of the subsistence depart- 
ment of Gen. Sibley's expedition. He was appointed Indian 
Agent b\^ T^resident Garfield for the Yanktonnais Sioux in 1881,. 
and was afterwards reappointed by President Arthur, but was 
legislated out of office in consequence of the consolidation of 
one agency with another, after having held, his position one year. 


During his term of office he was honest, faithful, a good friend 
of the Indians and an excellent officer of the government, leav- 
ing no unsettled or ambiguous accounts behind him when he 
retired to private life. 

While Major Spencer concedes that he has had some good 
Indians among his acquaintances, yet he admits that there are 
also some bad ones. As an illustration, on one occasion he gave 
credit to an Indian in the shape of traps, powder, shot, pro- 
visions, etc., to enable him to prosecute his hunt. He made a 
good catch that season of furs, but instead of paying Spencer 
what he owed him, he took his furs to Fort Abercrombie and 
traded them off for whisky. When he returned he was up- 
braided in rather strong language for his conduct, which offended 
him. Soon after Spencer had occasion to drink from a pail of 
water standing near by, and noticing a peculiar taste and being 
a little suspicious, he permitted two cats to drink out of the same 
water, when they both died from convulsions in a few minutes. 
He had a heavy mustache which saved his life, for he picked 
poison enough out of it afterwards to have killed a dozen men, 
for it acted as a strainer and caught the deleterious drug. He 
learned subsequently that this Indian managed to empty the con- 
tents of a bottle of strychnine into the water pail, in hopes to 
kill Spencer for reprimanding him for his conduct. 

Again, another Indian fired his store-house because he 
couldn't get credit, but the fire was subdued before any great 
damage was done. It was no uncommon thing to find arrows 
sticking into his horses, the work of some devilish Indian because 
foiled in his efforts to get goods. 


Personally Spencer is of medium height, very quiet in his 
ways, cool in his temperament, undemonstrative, a good book- 
keeper, honest and \ery courageous, as many incidents in his 
life show. While laying no claims to literary ability, yet he is a 
great admirer of literary merit, and had he been differently edu- 
cated in early life, he might have made his mark as a literary 
man. He is modest and retiring, and shines only best when 
among his friends, the outer world knowing but little of the 
intrinsic merit of the inner man. 


" D N THE LAND ! " 

In early days an old settler had succeeded in getting 
together a good many acres of land, but as times grew bad 
he found it quite difficult to raise money with which to pay 
taxes; indeed he could not pay his taxes. One day after imbib- 
ing pretty freely, he soliloquized to himself as follows : 

" Columbus discovered America ! Yes, Columbus thought 
he was smart ; he found more land than he could use. D — n 
Columbus ! 

" Isabella sent Columbus to discover America ; hadn't got 
land enough; oh, no! wanted all the dirt she could get, of 
course! D — n Isabella! 

" Then that old fool of a husband of Isabella, the King of 
Spain, hadn't sense enough to see that the land he was grabbing 
would put him in the poor house ! Oh, no ; he knew it all ; he 
was a western land speculator, and so America was discovered. 
D — n the King! 

" And then another confounded fool of a man came to this 
country and scraped up 4,000 acres of land, and thought he was 
a Vanderbilt, and now he can't pay his taxes ! D — n the land ; 
I don't want it; I won't have it! D — n the country! D — n 
Isabella and the King ! D — n Columbus ! " 

And the poor fellow wandered off to drown his sorrow in 
the flow^ing bowl, while other old settlers significantly shook their 
heads and whispered — " A little off, but he's about right." 


This year a party visited White Bear Lake and examined 
its surroundings. The land about it was then subject to entr)', 
or could be bought for ;s$i.25 per acre; worth now several thou- 
sand dollars per acre. 

F. A. RENZ. 

Mr. Renz was born in 1825, in a town near Baden-Baden, 
in Germany ; arrived at New York in i CS46 ; drifted to North 
Enfield, New Hampshire, where he commenced blasting out stone 
for a railroad company; next was in the employ of the I^oston 
water-works and was discharged without pa}- ; during his first 
winter in this country he labored for a farmer at Rutland, Massa- 


•chusetts, where he received his board ; returned to New York 
City in 1847, ^^^^ ^^''^^ employed for four years in a wholesale 
importing house of French China and glassware ; came to St. 
Paul in 185 1, it taking a month to make the journey, while now 
you can make it in less than a week ; here he engaged with a 
surveying party under Lieut. J. H. Simpson (late General Simp- 
son,) to survey a Territorial road from Point Douglas to Fort 
Ripley ; all above St. Anthony was then a wilderness ; returned 
to St. Paul and engaged in the confectionery and fancy goods 
business, and was the first candy maker in the State ; disposed of 
his business in 1857, ^^^^ went to Kansas; invested some money 
there; lost it; went to Europe that year ; returned in 1858 and 
commenced farming in Carv^er County, on a claim he made in 
1852, where he remained five years; returned to St. Paul in 
1865 and became a partner with George Benz, but sold out the 
same year to Major Becht ; then purchased Benzberg's brewery 
and distillery, which burned down and he lost everything, besides 
leaving him in debt $2,000 and carrying with the disaster two 
houses and two lots, which would have been very \aluable now. 
The debt, however, was all paid with interest, Mr. Renz earning 
the money as United States Ganger, and he is now out of most 
of his troubles and is in a comfortable condition. 


Mr. Renz paid ;^700 for a lot where Dr. Day's hotel now 
stands, on the corner of Third and Cedar streets, which he sub- 
sequently sold for $6,000; now worth $30,000; he owned a 
house and lot on Dayton avenue, and one on the corner of 
PvXchange and vSeventh streets, which were absorbed in his brew- 
ery speculation, now very valuable; he also purchased several 
acres on Summit avenue, which have greatly advanced in price 
the past two years. 

When in Carv^er County he was Chairman of the Super- 
visors of the township of Chanhausen ; was elected justice of 
the peace ; was three times member of the Legislature ; was 
Register of the United States Land Ofifice at Henderson, appointed 
by President Lincoln in 1861 ; was elected City Treasurer by the 
City Council of St. Paul to fill a vacancy, July, 1873, and held 



the office to June, 1882; was Superintendent and Secretary of 
the St. Paul work-house, but has recently resij^ned. 

Mr. Renz is a quiet, industrious gentleman, and has toiled 
hard to get where he is financially to-day. He has seen a good 
many ups and downs, but has surmounted all his trouble, and is- 
now enjoying perhaps as much of life's pleasures as most men. 
He is active, positive, tenacious, undaunted, and as superintend- 
ent of the v/ork-house filled admirably an important position tO' 
which his talents fit him. He is a man of ordinary size ; a little 
bent in the shoulders and moves along about his business in an 
energetic manner. He is a good man and a useful citizen, and 
his career is a striking illustration of what one can accomplish 
by pluck, energy, industry and perseverance. 


The old Winslow House which used to stand on the corner 
of Seventh and Third streets, and which was erected by James 
M. Winslow, w^as commenced this year, fhc writer was at the 
opening of this house when completed in T853, ^^^^^ partook of 
the first meal. It was kept by Mr. Deuel, and under it was a 
bank, a drug store, and the first railroad ticket office in the Terri- 
tory, run by a Captain George, long since dead. In front of it 
bubbled up a stream of spring water. In its day it w^as a popular 
hotel, but like some fourteen other buildings of this character, it 
burned down in the year 1862. Capt. George, and Ward, and 
Rich, and Billy Snell, and some of the Deuel family, and man\- 
others, once the occupants and attaches of this house, are dead ! 
And thus moves on the world, obliterating the land-marks of the 
past, and bringing to view^ new faces in place of the old ones 
which are gone forever! 


The old brick Cathedral now standing on Wabasha street,, 
was completed this year, and it was a great event, not only for 
the Catholic Church, but for the city itself It answered the 
purposes for which it was built until the present stone Cathedral 
took its place. 

Politicians will remember the days of the Whig party when 
Henry Clay was its idol and Daniel Webster the great expounder 


of its principles. They will remember later along of " Tippecanoe 
and Tyler too," and then of the death of the party and the in- 
coming of the great Republican organization which remained in 
power twenty-five years. Looking back over a quarter of a 
century one can see many changes, and among them the fact 
that in 1851, thirty-four^ years ago, the WccJdy Minncsotian, a 
Whig organ, was started in this city by John P. Owens, John C. 
Terry being publisher. In those days men were more personal 
than now, and as a result, growing out of political attacks, 
Owens had several assaults thrust upon him, but he outlived 
them, entered the Republican party, fought its battles for years 
and died in 1884. 

R. C. Knox, over six feet tall and now a resident of either 
Montana or Colorado, started a movement for a hook and ladder 
company in 1851, which was successful, and from this beginning 
has grown our present fire department. Five of the ladders then 
in use were subsequently owned by the old Pioneer Hook and 
Ladder Company, and did good service for many years. 


Mr. Hoffman was born in Pennsylvania in 1831 ; received a 
common school education; came to St. Paul in 1851 ; was en- 
gaged two years with John R. Irvine in running a saw mill ; 
worked for D. L. J^\iller three years; tool: ch:irgo of Win. L. 
Ames' mill, which stood at the foot of Dayton's bluff, and ran it 
for some time ; then entered a grocery store one year ; rented 
the store and continued the business up to 1873 ; was appointed 
State Inspector of Oil, and held the office seven years ; was 
Alderman for six years, and is now engaged partly in looking to 
his own business and that of C. D. GilfiUan. 

Mr. Hoffman as a man is of good size physically, and pos- 
sesses a well-developed brain ; very quiet in his ways, and unob- 
trusive in his manner. He has pulled through all the financial 
crashes, and though not immensely rich yet he is comfortably 
well off; has paid every dollar of his debts, and of course is a 
happy man, for nothing conduces so much to one's real hap- 
piness as the fact that he is out of debt with a small income to 
support life. Happy man ! 



Born in New York State in 1825 ; labored on a farm until 
sixteen years old ; learned the hatter's trade ; worked in various 
places throughout the country; studied law in New York City; 
was the original young man in 1841 whom Horace Greeley ad- 
vised "to go west ; " made a claim in Illinois; sold the land for 
;^ii per acre; now worth ;^ioo per acre; was in the Western 
Reserve College, Ohio, three years; was in Chicago in 1846, 
where he worked at his trade; came to St. Paul in 1851 ; 
studied law with Rice, HoUinshead & Becker; was admitted to 
the bar and practiced law in the Territory and State ; was clerk of 
the House of Representatives in 1852-3 ; was the first man who 
enlisted in Company A Seventh Regiment; served all through 
the war and was in nearly every battle; was never off duty a day 
for sickness or otherwise, until after the siege and taking of Mo- 
bile, Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, Alabama, and on the last 
march from these battles and victories he was stricken down 
insensible by a sun-stroke, was conveyed to a hospital and sub- 
sequently discharged. He received a back pension of ;^8,ooo, 
and now receives $72 per month. 


Mr. Ford made the first claim and built the first house and 
ploughed the first field and was the first settler in the original 
narrow limits of the village of Northfield ; he was the original 
political ring smasher in the Territory ; was the original Blaine 
man in Rice County ; was a correspondent of the St. Paul Daily 
Times ; also correspondent of P^astern papers, etc., etc., and did 
considerable in early days to induce emigrants to come to Min- 
nesota. He was sick for several years after his sun-stroke in the 
army, when he partially recovered, and is now and has been for 
some time living in Northfield, Minnesota, carr}-ing on farming. 

Mr. P^ord is a man of decided ability and force of character ; 
active, intelligent, industrious, pushing, but ill-health has greatly 
marred a somewhat eventful life. He enjoys a good pension 
from the government , has a nice farm, and is well satisfied with 
his present prospects, as well lie ma}- be, as he can truly exclaim 
with Shakespeare — " All's well that ends well." 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 293 


George Irvine is a brother of the late well-known John R. 
Irvine, and was born in New York in 1815 ; received a common 
school education ; learned the trade of a tanner and currier ; car- 
ried on business in Pennsylvania and Cincinnati ; came to St. 
Paul in 1851 ; commenced his career here by hoeing a patch of 
four or five acres of potatoes where College avenue now is ; to- 
gether with his brother John, framed the old saw mill which 
stood near the upper levee and which was run for years ; and 
following this the brothers juirchased a stock of groceries and 
provisions at St. Louis and opened a store as partners in a build- 
ing on Third street where the Empire block used to stand, and 
continued this business up to 1853, when, in 1854 they built the 
warehouse on the upper levee and opened a forwarding and com- 
mission trade, which they carried on for a year ; moved their 
stock to a building corner of Exchange and Third streets, which 
building was erected in 1848. In 1855 Mr. Irvine constructed 
the brick dwelling on Pleasant avenue, now owned by Dr. Bris- 


Mr. Irvine being a tanner induced Kessler & Rhiel to open 
the first leather store in this city, and he became one of the part- 
ners. The store was in the old Rice House, on upper Third 
street, and here they carried on a leather, hides and finding busi- 
ness, and it yielded a good profit. He left the concern in 1856, 
and in 1857 opened a grocery store which he ran up to 1861 ; 
in 1864 he became a policeman and continued one year, when 
he opened a boarding house, and later carried on the Arcade on 
Robert street for a little over three years and a half; went to 
California in 1873 ; was in Colorado a year; in New York and 
Boston in 1875; returned to St. Paul in 1876 and the same 
year became connected with the Merchants hotel, and has been 
there in various positions ever since. 

Mr. Irvine did not procure a great deal of real estate in the 
early days, as his brother John used to tell him he had enough 
for himself and all his brothers, but he purchased two lots on 
Pleasant avenue, for which he paid $500; worth now ;^20,ooo; 
two lots on College avenue, cost $400; sold for $1000, worth 


330,000. And, singular as it may appear, this is tiie extent of" 
his real estate transactions. 


Mr. Irvine is now close to seventy years. His hair is white 
and he stoops a little, and yet he is as vigorous as many men at 
fifty, lie has had a peculiar and checkered life; was not born 
with a golden spoon in his mouth ; has found it prett}' hard to 
even get a silver one ; " has boxed the compass ; " has flown to 
" ills he knew not of;" has fought life's battle fiercely; has been 
imposed upon, and yet he is quiet, philosophical, pleasant, step- 
ping carefully down the decline that leads to the final end, and 
is quite willing to cross the little bridge to the other shore. 


In 1 85 1 400 Indians were engaged gathering cranberries 
out at Rice lake, only a few miles from St. Paul, and in the fall 
of this year twenty-five bears were killed at the same place. It 
was a common thing to see fifty Indians in the town at one time. 
Now no Indians can be seen ; no bears are visible ; population 
has set in, and where these elements of barbarism existed, are 
farms, railroads, towns, cities, civilization. The undertow of the 
wave of immi«;ration could thus earlv be heard rumbling from the 
East, and on it came, sweeping back the Indians and opening a 
new light into the dark recesses of a forest of a comparatively 
unexplored and an undeveloped region. 


Judge Cooley, by which name he is more generalh' known, 
is one of the familiar personages of the past in the cit}' of St. 
Paul, a sort of index board marking the years long since gone; 
and although the younger portion (^f the communit}- ma\- not 
know liim, the old settlers can soon pick liim out of the jostling 
crowds that swarm our sidewalks. l-Jorn m the State of New 
York in 1824, he received a thorough education, and after the 
study of law for five years, at the age of twenty-one he passed 
a searching examination by the late Charles O. Connor, of New 
York city, and \\as admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of 

OF ST. PAUir, MINN. 295 

that State. He subsequently removed South, and in 1851 came 
.to St. Paul for the benefit of his health. 


Soon after his arrival here he was made Town Attorney 
(there was then no city,) and became City Attorney when the 
town assumed that dignity. He was also elected Attorney for 
Ramsey County, and held both offices simultaneously. He was 
.sole commissioner to draft and revise the first ordinances adopted 
by the new city; was also the first Pension Agent in Minnesota. 
After practicing law in this city up to 1 864, he removed to Wilkes- 
barre, Penn., but at the expiration of ten years returned to St. 
Paul, where he has remained almost uninterruptedly ever since. 

Judge Cooley possesses peculiar talents as a writer, his 
principal forte being fun and sarcasm, and yet he prepared a most 
useful index digest of the tax laws of Minnesota, which not only 
received the sanction of the State, but elicited high commenda- 
tion from the bench and the bar. He is well known as the origi- 
nator and promoter of the Third House of Representatives of 
the State ; that is, many citizens came together voluntarily and 
went through the formality of organizing the Third House, and 
then listening to the reading of the Governor's message, which 
was usually written by Cooley, many times ridiculing men and 
measures and parties, but more generally it was a take-off on 
the genuine Legislature then in session at the Capitol. In these 
papers Judge Cooly showed point, fun, sarcasm, sense and non- 
sense. He also later delivered a lecture on " Old Settlers," in 
which he endeavored to bring out their weak points and yet in 
.a manner not to offend. He has also written some dramatic 
• compositions as well as verse; and quite recently has compiled a 
book, but upon what particular subject the public are not yet 
advised. He dealt but little in real estate, but at one time owned 
a fine piece of property on the old St. Anthony road, but after 
the death of his wife, sold it. His domestic afflictions have been 
very sad. 


Judge Cooley is a short, thick-set man, with strong features 
and hair silvered with gray, with a well-poised head and a firm 


step. His nature runs to fun as naturally as the duck seeks the 
water, and in conversation he usually brings out the amusing 
part of life. He is always good-natured, and when interested 
in conversation picks his left hand with his right finger nail, and 
this motion is intensified as the conversation grows more earnest. 
He is quite unassuming ; is not in love with the law sufficiently 
to practice a great deal, but devotes most of his time to literary 
pursuits, and when he gets into the proper groove — if he ever 
does — the public will stop and examine his merits. 


Mr. Donaldson was born of English parents, in Ohio, in 
1825; lived on his father's farm until eighteen years old, when 
he went to Cincinnati to become acquainted with the practical 
working of business ; came to St, Paul in 1851 and formed a 
partnership with J. D. Pollock, and this firm has existed from 
that day to this, or thirty-four years, being the oldest firm in the 
city, although Wm. Constans individually has been the longest 
continuously in business here. 

Mr. Donaldson early identified himself with the fire depart- 
ment of this city ; indeed he was among the very first, and re- 
mained with it as an active member until it passed out of the 
hands of the volunteer members into the control of the city. 
While performing his duties a.s a fireman he was injured, and 
remained disabled for some time. Although Mr. Donaldson did 
not enter the army he contributed toward the support of the go\'- 
ernment during the war, and by strict attention to business has 
secured a comfortable property. Married a Miss Thorne in 1 873 ;, 
has two children. 

In 1 85 1, in connection with Mr. Pollock, his partner, Mr.. 
Donaldson purchased four lots on the corner of Broadway and 
Fifth streets, for Si 00. He sold some of them for $1,700. and 
the balance for $20,000. He bought thirty acres on the shores 
of Lake Phelan for $125, worth now $5,000; secured two five- 
acre lots in Hoyt's addition for $1 00; sold for $3,000; worth 
now $ 1 2,000. 


Mr. Donaldson is a ta,ll, slender gentleman, unpretentious,. 
cool, cautious, methodical, and honest. He and his partner have- 


worked harmoniously in the same harness for thirt}'-four years, 
and during that period have passed through some very depress- 
ing times, and yet they have withstood the financial storms and 
have the honor — and it is an enviable one — of being the oldest 
firm in the city. Mr. Donaldson was about twenty-six years old 
when he came here ; then a young man with no gray hairs or 
wrinkles ; now he is on the shady side of life and prefers the old 
rocking-chair to the merry jingle of hilarity in the ball-room. 
Possessing a handsome house and surrounded with all the com- 
forts vouchsafed to man, very few enjoy to a greater degree the 
family circle than Mr. Donaldson ; and thus in declining years 
he has become mellowed with contentment and is satisfied w ith 
a life well spent. 


A small, delicate, slender, exceedingly pleasant young man, 
then only twenty years old, came to St. Paul thirty -four years 
ago, and who does not remember him ? His pleasant smile, his 
affable manners, his genial ways, how like warm rays of sunshine 
they come back and knock at the door of memory! The li.tle 
slender youth has grown into manhood now and has filled out 
physically into fine proportions, has passed the meridian of life, 
is stepping down into the valley of old age, but the geniality of 
the past is still there, the old smile is still there; the old warm and 
generous heart is still there, the sincere real man is still there. 

William S. Combs was born in the city of New York in 
1 83 1 ; was educated at the public schools of that city; removed 
to Kentucky in 1843; resided in Lexington five years; in St. 
Louis in 1848, and located in St. Paul in 1851, opening a book 
and stationery store in the fall of that \^ear ; broke his leg ^\•hen 
at St. Louis purchasing goods ; returned to St. Paul ; sold out 
and kept books in the winter of 185 1-2 at Mendota lor Gen. 
Sibley; married Miss Carrie White, May 10, 1852, while at 
Oxford, Ohio ; took an active part in the public schools and 
served as president of the Board of Pklucation as well as secretary 
for many years ; and as chairman of the building committee ga\-e 
his personal attention to the erection of some of the largest and 
most expensive school buildings in the city, among which were 
the Jefferson, Madison and Lincoln, and was connected witli the 


school board over sixteen years, giving his time freely to the 
public good to the detriment of his legitimate business. 


In early days a body of men associated themselves together 
to protect each other in holding their claims, and of this body of 
men H. M. Rice was president, and William S. Combs was sec- 
retary. Very often it happened that a valuable claim would be 
taken possession of by some interloper, and then the power of 
the association was called in to evict him. On one occasion a 
man and his family had erected a shanty on the claim owned by 
a Dr. Bid well, of this city, and as he would not go off the mem- 
bers of the association met and commenced tearing down the 
building. When the shanty had become nearly divested of its 
outer covering, Dominick Troyer, a large and powerful man. 
seized the uprights that supported the roof, and then he gave the 
man and his family fair warning that if they did not get out^in 
three minutes he would let the roof down upon their heads, and 
seeing that he meant business, they " got," and Bidwell again 
took possession of his claim. 


While Mr. Combs was carrying on his book business in a 
building on Third street, next to the old Times office, he divided 
off a little room in the back part of his store, and there intro- 
duced penmanship and book-keeping, the first of the kind ever 
taught in Minnesota. He was an industrious and ambitious 
young man, and filled up the time in this way to advance his 
pecuniary interests. 

Mr. Combs is a member of Ancient Landmark Lodge, No. 
5 ; Minnesota Royal Arch Chapter, No. i ; St. Paul Council of 
R. and S. M. ; all of the Scottish Rite bodies, to the thirtieth 
degree ; served the Grand Lodge as its grand secretary from 1 866 
to 1 877 ; and the Grand Royal Arch Chapter as grand secretar}' 
from 1867 to 1877; was M. P. G. M. of the Grand Council for a 

He was an active member of the first Board of Trade and its 
secretary for several years. When the Chamber of Commerce 
was formed he was an active member of that body for several 

OF ST, PA UL, MINN. 299 

years. He was also an early member of the Pioneer Guards, the 
first military company in the State. 

Mr. Combs did not deal much in real estate, but he purchased 
in 1853 eighty acres of land near what is now known as Post's 
Siding, for 5700 ; at present worth ^80,000. Of course like all 
the rest of the old settlers he let it go for just what it cost him. 
It is the old story ; I need not repeat it. 


For thirty odd years I have known Mr. Combs quite inti- 
mately, and have always found him an agreeable and pleasant 
gentleman. His sunny nature has never left him and clings to 
him even now. His early history West is full of romance, and 
very few could pass through the many trials he encountered 
when a mere boy, without greatly marring even a less perfect 
disposition than that which is owned by Mr. Combs, and yet he 
is as genial to-day as he was over a quarter of a century ago. 
A fine looking man, straight, commanding, with a frank, free, 
open countenance, he wins his way among his fellow-men, and 
though not blessed with a superabundance of this world's goods, 
yet he scatters pearls of sunshine wherever he goes, and thus I 
leave him — " the noblest Roman of them all." 


** Backward, turn backward, O time in your flight. 
Make me a chikl again just for to-night! 
Mother, come hack from the echoless shore, 
Take me again to your heart as of yore. 
Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care, 
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair; 
Over my slumbers your loving watch keep — 
Rock me to sleep, mother — rock me to sleep." 


Capt. Stees was born in Dauphin, Pennsylvania, in 1834; 
came to St. Paul in 185 i. He was three weeks on the way from 
his native place to this city, while the trip can now be made in 
less than three days. This year (1851,) the river was high, the 
water coming up to William Constans' warehouse steps. 

Hearing of the Indian treaty going on at Mendota, he 
remained on the boat and went up there. Here thousands of 


Dacotahs or Sioux had assembled to make a treaty with United 
States Commissioner Luke Lea and Gov. Ramsey ; the bluffs and 
surrounding hills were covered with Indian tepees, while chiefs, 
^ braves, warriors, squaws, pappooses and dogs crowded around 
Sibley's trading post and young Stees' heart beat with wondrous 
and admiring excitement, he being just from school and full of 
Fennimore Cooper's romantic ideas of the noble red man of the 
forest, but subsequent events served to change his sentiments in 
regard to the *' Redskins." for eleven years later — during the 
Sioux massacre of 1862 — he had an opportunity to face these 
same redskins in battle and assisted in capturing man\' of them 
and recapturing a large number of white women and children 
and one white man, who were held as prisoners b\' them. Some 
of the braves made very fine speeches, were very eloquent and 
graceful in their oratory, and had a very happ\-, don't-carative- 
ness manner of speaking some wholesome truths which the com- 
missioners were not delighted to hear. The whole scene was a 
picture never to be forgotten. 


As a boy, fresh from Philadelphia, Capt. Stees was not favor- 
ably impressed with St. Paul as a village, ^\■ith its board shanties 
and less numerous frame houses. West St. Paul was then a 
forest of fine tall trees, the grass was green along Third street, 
and he gathered hazel nuts corner Third and Minnesota. An old 
log barn belonging to the Catholic mission, stood where the Pio- 
neer Press stands now. The stable of the Central House stood 
where Mannheimer's block now is, and Bill Taylor's barber shop 
and Bass' post office occupied a one-story frame about where 
Schleik's shoe store is. The Fremont House, with its pet bear, 
stood on a " pretty bench " overlooking a beautiful view of the 
river, and there was a magnificent promenade along the bluff 
facing the Mississippi, from Jackson to Wabasha street, which 
Col. Goodhue always advocated should be reserved by the city 
as a boulevard. Had his wishes been carried out St. Paul would 
possess to-day a front view which for a promenade and beauty of 
scenery would be unsurpassed on this continent. The writer 
earnestly advocated the preservation of this same boulevard in 

OF ST. FA UL, MIXX. 301 

1854, but cupidity overrode sagacity, and the opportunity has 
now probably gone forever. 


Across Third street, below Cedar, about where Boerineer's 
store is, there was a ledge of rocks out of which a constant ooz- 
ing and dripping of water came, making the walking muddy and 
disagreeable for the ladies, so the McCloud Brothers furnished 
the necessary lumber in the shape of empty hardware boxes, 
and R. West McCloud, Ike Markley and C. J. Stees laid the first 
sidewalk in St. Paul, from Minnesota street on Third to the foot 
of this ledge of rocks, and the ladies were thus enabled to pass 
dry-shod over this spot to the Rev. E. D. Neill's brick church, 
corner Third and Market, where it was not an unusual sight to 
see Indians march into church their bells and trinkets jingling 
and squat themselves down on the floor of the aisle and listen to 
the religious discourse of the minister. Baptist Hill also had its 
little church — from which the hill derived its name — and was 
well attended. Presley's little candy store was a resort on Sun- 
days, especially by Indians, who would hang around until Bart 
would come out and treat them. He would give them a peck 
of decayed apples and they would invariably pick out the rotten- 
est and ripest and enjoy them most. Simpson's trading post, 
corner Third and Robert, and old Creek's log cabin back of it 
on the bluff, was also a resort. The arrival and opening of Cur- 
ran's World's F'air — dry-goods store — on the opposite corner, 
with his daughters as lady clerks, was a social event in St. Paul 
which set the young men in a flutter. Charlie Cave's saloon on 
Third street, with its walls painted full of Indian scenes and 
Indian life was considered something very grand in those days. 
Signs out at night denoted keno as being played up stairs, and 
gambling was in full blast open and above board. On the bridge, 
reaching across from the First National Bank to the Gilfillan 
block, corner Fourth and Jackson streets, could always be found 
a group of Sioux Indians intently watching the building of a 
brick culvert, and they were disappointed and astonished at not 
seeing the brick fall in when the wooden supports were taken 
out ; they could not understand the philosophy of the arch. 


Here was Lot Moffett's first house, over which he buiit his cas- 
tle, the first floor of the latter commencing where the roof of 
the former left off Larpenteur's store, corner Third and Jack- 
son, was always full of Indians selling their peltries and furs and 
buying powder and shot, or knick-knacks. Wm. H. Forbes' 
trading post and Minnesota Outfit was at the foot of Third street, 
corner of Jackson, where scores of Indians could always be found 
lying around on summer evenings, shooting rats with their bows 
and arrows by twilight. Tom Reed's grocery store was always 
a resort for Jackson, Jim Thompson and hunters, trappers and 
frontiersmen generally, who congregated there at night, sitting 
on boxes, barrels, etc., telling yarns by the light of a tallow dip 
of hunting, trapping, fighting Indians and hair-breadth escapes. 
On one occasion one of them purchased a violin and among 
other tunes played " Home, Sweet Home," and it brought tears 
to the eyes of these rough buckskin-shirted pioneers. 


The first big fire in St. Paul vvas Daniel's hotel in 1851, at 
the upper levee; the building had just been finished and fur- 
nished but not occupied, and it burned like a tinder box, and 
there was no fire apparatus excepting some ladders and buckets, 
and Stees says his shoulder was very sore from carrying the 
former until big Tom Knox stopped a farmer's team and im- 
pressed it by turning the horses around and loading up the lad- 
ders. He says that the Rev. E. D. Neill's fine broadcloth suit 
was no drawback to his duty as a citizen at a fire, for he worked 
like a Trojan carrying out the furniture. Tom Knox, Bart 
Presley and Wash .Stees were three of the muscular fire laddies 
of those days. About this time, with Ike Markley and others, 
young Stees made a pre-emption claim on thj bluff, on the west 
side of the river opposite the Presbyterian Church. They 
together put up a log shanty, provisioned it, and hired a man to 
hold possession, although the treaty had not yet been ratified. 
Such a claim would now be worth $150,000. 

The high steps running from the lower levee to the top (^f 
the bluff, was always a rjsort for the young men of the village on 
Sunday afternoons, and on one occasion a party had assembled 
there when a Winnebago Indian came along and by his accou- 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 303 

trements, etc., he was reco<4nizcd as a courier to the Indian vil- 
lage opposite. Ned West, a dissipated young fellow from New 
York, and *' half-shot," stopped the Indian and accosted him, 
but the latter took no notice of him and seemed anxious to pass 
by, but^Ned stood in his way and continued to jabber Dacotah to 
him. The Winnebago would not answer but passed him, when 
Ned gave the Chippewa war-whoop, and the former flew down 
the stairs like a deer and out upon the ice, when he stopped and 
examined the priming of his rifle, while the boys on the steps 
began to look for shelter. Seeing his gun all right he started on 
the run as before, and in two minutes the western shores 
resounded with war-whoops and yells from Little Crow's band, 
who had heard Ned's war-whoop and thought some of their 
friends in danger. It caused some merriment, but it was a dan- 
gerous joke. Jimmy Peck, a paper-hanger from New York, 
came here to make his fortune, but he was in advance of the 
times. If people had a roof over their, heads they were satisfied 
and desired no such luxury as paper on their walls. Jimmy was 
unfortunate, but could work at nothing else. He was homesick, 
but had no money to get away, so in his distress he confic ed his 
troubles to Charlie Stees, who borrowed a loaf of home-made 
bread, some clieese and cold meat from Mrs. W. M, Stees — 
unknown to her — a canoe from an Indian in like manner, and 
Jimmy was sent floating down the river homeward bound, late 
at night, on his w^ay rejoicing. He was a good fellow only ahead 
of the times. 


Little Crow's band frequently came to town and indulged in 
various dances in front of the trading posts they bartered 
skins, furs and pelts and traded generally, and on such occasions 
the traders invariably made them presents of calico, tobacco, etc. 
Twice a year they came to these posts on a begging expedition 
and danced the beggar dance, which was very amusing to witness ; 
they were in a nearly nude condition, with their bodies daubed 
with blue earth, indicating their poverty, and they presented a 
hideous appearance. They formed in a circle and danced in 
front of a store until something was given them, and some portl}' 
Indians looked very comical as they jumped up and down, their 


fat sides shaking like so many porpoises. 'Twas amusing to 
witness the struggle between modesty and curiosity as evinced 
by the ladies of St. Paul of those early days, who were eager to 
see the spectacle and yet did not wish to be recognized, so they 
peeped from behind window curtains, to the amusement of the 
male portion of the community. 


Capt. Stees speaks of enjoying New Year's day with Little 
Crow's band fishing in the ice in one of the sloughs where West 
St. Paul now stands. The Indian mode of fishing in winter is 
to cut three holes in the ice two feet square, at an equal distance 
from the shores. This is repeated several times about every one 
hundred yards, and at each of these holes is placed a squaw with 
a hickory switch with three hooks attached at the end She 
kneels down at the hole and throws her blanket over her head 
and the hole so as to exclude the lic;ht and she can then see 
plainly into the water. After the squaws have taken their posi- 
tions at the holes, say thirty or forty, the entire band go down 
the banks a quarter of a mile below the first set of holes, and 
come on to the ice each provided with a heavy club similar to a 
street-paver, and pound on the ice while moving toward the holes, 
at the same time they dance, sing and yell most vociferously, 
making the most frightful noise imaginable, pertaining more to 
the infernal regions than to mother earth. With all this hideous 
music they approach the openings in the ice, and of course the 
fish are frightened and rush along until they come to the holes, 
when, seeing the light, they make a pause and become huddled 
up together in a mass. Now is the time for the squaws, and they 
take advantage of the opportunity and whip the fish out as rap- 
idly as a Chinaman will throw rice into his mouth with his chop 
sticks. The fish that escape the squaws' hooks at the first set 
of holes are again driven on by the same musical band that 
comes stamping after them to the next set of holes, where they 
meet the same fate as their predecessors, and so on until the}^ 
have run the entire gauntlet and become quite decimated. Some- 
times over fifty fish are taken at one passing at each hole. When 
all the holes are passed and the Indians are not satisfied with 
their success, they proceed around by land, head the fish off. 

OF ST. PA UL, 3/JiSW. 305 

•drive them back and compel them to run the gauntlet the second 
time. Some of these fish weighed as much as eighteen pounds. 
Who thinks of fishing now in West St. Paul except for lots ? 


The Indian did not seem to appreciate the value of money. 
The Captain has seen a party of Indians at a payment receive 
over ;ssioo each, and then come to St. Paul and spend every cent 
of it in less than two hours. They would buy blankets and 
strings of sleigh-bells with which they would cover their horse's 
back with one string and his neck full with the others and then 
gallop around town in grand triumph, and by night they pos- 
sessed neither horse nor blanket, and not even a bell. They inva- 
riably spent their money foolishly and came into town hundreds 
at a time on horseback, single file, bells jingling, fantastically 
dressed and painted, whooping, yelling, creating an exciting as 
well as ludicrous sight. Their purchases were generally traded 
off for whisky, and that 's where the bells, blankets and horses 


Were Lott Moffett, Judge Kennedy, Louis Robert, C. P. 
Lull, Charlie Cave, Joe Rolette, Bon. Syphers, Ned West, Ike 
Markley, John P. Owens, Jim Vincent, Bill Shelly, Seisholtz, Col. 
AIcKenty, of " Broad Acres," Col. Goodhue, Sam Sargent, Col. 
Burton, of the Central House; Jackson, the postmaster; Bill 
Taylor, the barber, who played at all the dances ; Frank Collins 
and French, the auctioneers ; Nat Spicer, the watchmaker ; George 
Reisdorff, the drayman ; Old Napoleon Heitz, Jim Thompson, 
the ferryman ; Tom Odell, with a squaw wife ; Parson Wil- 
loughby, of the /Folian Church ; Old Bets and Wooden-legged 
Jim, her brother ; Hock-Washta, an old Indian eighty years of 
age, who always wore a plug hat full of ribbons and pieces of 
calico, who was a public pensioner; Julia, the pretty squaw; 
Popcorn Johnson, the popcorn vender. Among the prisoners 
taken at Camp Release was *' Old Bets' " mother, who afterwards 
died in the squaw pen at Fort Snelling in the winter of 1862-3. 


W. M. Stees' furniture store where Capt. Stees first went to 
work, was situated on a French Catholic burial ground, and a 


small picket fence was placed around each grave. On the corner 
of Third and Minnesota streets, where the present brick block now 
stands, was erected a shanty about 20 x 40 feet, one-story high ;, 
the sides were upright boards with a board roof, and the rear of 
the building set on stilts, the front resting on Third street. The 
surroundings were hazel bushes, there being no building between 
it and the top of the hill, near Cedar street. Two dozen chairs,, 
as many bedsteads and tables, were deemed a considerable stock 
of furniture. Six chairs, a bedstead and table was quite a bill of 
sale in those days. Selling a bureau was an event worthy to be 
talked about. Then thev made most of their furniture, and the 
bed-posts were turned by a turning lathe which was a liberal per- 
spiration-generator and human legs the motive power. He speaks 
of taking a piece of furniture to deliver at Louis Olivier's house, 
somewhere west of Wabasha and north of Fifth street and came 
near getting his horse mired in the bog. At another time he 
was sent to put up a bedstead for A. L. Larpenteur and the pres- 
ence of a pretty lady so embarrassed him that he sawed off the 
slats entirely too short and had to go back after new ones. He 
speaks of making a "gable end" coffin, with "split roof" and 
working all night in order to have it finished in time. The idea 
of keeping ready-made coffins on hand in those days would have 
been deemed a sacrilege and the party doing so liable to a 


Capt. Stees is the oldest undertaker now in the business in 
the State. He has seen young ladies of St. Paul marry, become 
mothers and grandmothers and then bury some of their children 
and grandchildren. His first case was at Mendota and the corpse 
Mr. Frank Steele's child. After making the casket Wash and 
he took the same up in a buggy, and half-way between here and 
Fort Snelling their pony stuck in a swamp and the mosquitoes 
liked to eat them up, drawing blood every time they presented 
their bills. The second case was that of a young man who froze 
to death in his cabin two and a half miles from town. He was 
found with his knees on the floor, his arms on the bed and his 
head resting on his arms in a praying posture, frozen as hard as a 
rock. In this position the body was brought to an old carpenter 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 307 

shop at the bridge, corner Fourth and Jackson streets, where 
Gilfillan block now stands. Here an old scow was procured and 
filled half full of water; then a fire was built on the ground floor, 
some stones heated red hot and thrown into the w^ater to heat it 
in order to thaw out the body. Prior to this word was sent up 
to come and take the measure for a coffin. Tom Reed was 
coroner. Capt. Stees went down and asked where the body w^as. 
One of the men pointed to a corner where an object was con- 
cealed under a blanket ; he raised the blanket and there lay the 
man in a reversed position from that in which he was found ; 
knees doubled up and his arms crossed over his forehead and 
eyes wide open. It was a horrible sight and Charlie was fright- 
ened and w^ent home, telling his brother Wash he had better go 
down and measure that body, the recollection of which time can 
never efface. The deceased was an eccentric genius who planted 
cedar posts around his claim and then dug a two-foot hole in 
front of each post W'hich he called a witness. He had a solid 
mahogany tool chest full of fine tools, which is now in the pos- 
session of a gentleman of this city. He also had a Mexican 
soldier's land warrant, besides $250 in gold. He left no will and 
no heirs appeared to claim his estate, and the question suggests 
itself — " Who got his property and his money ? " 


There were plenty of predictions in the early da\'s that St. 
Paul would never amount to anything as a town. The channel 
of the river would be cleared to St. Anthony and that would 
be the " head of navigation." ** Real estate is too high now " — 
said these wiseacres, when a lot fifty feet front on Third street 
sold for ^500 — '* and there is bound to be a collapse, the same as 
in Chicago." Very little money changed hands ; everything was 
on the " dicker." The carpenter dickered with the stone mason, 
he with the grocer, the latter with the furniture dealer, and they 
all swapped around for real estate ; they took and gave notes to 
settle up when the Indian payment came off. A man came into 
the store and traded a gold watch for furniture, the watch was 
traded for real estate, and so it passed around. Capt. Stees paid 
;^I3.50 for a lot in 1851, rented that lot out so that taxes and 
assessments never cost him anything, and in 1881 sold that lot for 


;$i,350, making large per cent, in thirty years, one dollar for every 
cent invested. The same property is now worth eight times the 
amount he sold for, or some $io,ooo. 


When St. Paul was a village Philadelphia and New York 
city were well represented in its limited population, and as a 
sequence the New York Knickerbockers and Pennsylvania Dutch- 
men liked sauer-kraut ; so in the winter Mrs. W. M. Stees put 
up a large barrel of what in those days — shut out from civiliza- 
tion — was considered a great delicacy, and when she opened the 
barrel for use, " the boys " were notified of the fact, and they 
came down the hill regularly for their mess of sauer-kraut. 
There was more sociability then than now. " Everybody knew 
everybody," and it is refreshing in these degenerate days of 
broadcloth and plug hats and liveried coachmen, to think of the 
genuine sociability and honest friendship that existed then. But 
the jealousy and rivalry existing between " upper town and lower 
town " store keepers, was truly amusing ; the rivalry between 
St. Paul and Minneapolis to-day, as a comparison, is " no- 

Every old settler knew Parson Willoughby who kept the 
livery stable on the corner of Fourth and Robert streets. One 
day a lightning-rod man came along and wanted to put up rods 
on Willoughby's barn. The latter said — " I've an old hoss I'll 
give you to put some up." " Good enough," said the man, and 
to work he went. In about an hour Willoughby went out to see 
how he was getting along, when he found he had seven up 
already. " For God's sake what are you doing ? Do you want 
to tempt the ligntning? Come down and I'll give you the hoss." 


A soldier down from the Fort on a furlough, came into Bill 
Taylor's barber shop to get shaved ; Bill was playing on his 
violin ; the soldier gave him half-a-dollar for the privilege of 
dancing ten minutes in his shop while he played ; the offer was 
accepted and the son of Mars danced away to his own delight 
and that of the bystanders, and departed seemingly happ)* and 
satisfied. Taylor was killed in the Indian outbreak. 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 309 

The arrival of Red river carts was quite a feature and 
brought considerable British coin into town. The event was gen- 
erally celebrated with a high old drunk by those old voyageurs. 
Another feature was the arrival in winter of a dog train with 
sledges, bringing in members of the Legislature from Pembina on 
snow-shoes. Editor Goodhue facetiously announced them as 
" the arrival from Pembina of members of the Legislature, Jim 
Vincent, Teton, and the other dogs ; they are all putting up at 
the Central House." 


Capt. Stees returned to Philadelphia in 1853 and learned 
the jewelry business ; then went south to Raleigh, N. C, where 
he followed that business until secession sentiments got pretty 
warm, and he returned to Philadelphia. When Sumpter was 
fired on he joined the army and was Major of a three- months 
Pennsylvania regiment, and on the mustering out of his regi- 
ment he returned to St. Paul and engaged in the furniture busi- 
ness with his brothers, but the exciting times of war rendered 
him restless and too uneasy for business, so with a number of 
other young men on Third street, he re-enlisted in the Ninth 
Minnesota Regiment. The up-rising of Little Crow and massacre 
of our people by the Sioux requiring prompt action. Gov. Ram- 
sey issued a proclamation consolidating the first ten fullest com- 
panies into the Sixth Regiment, and thus young Stees became 
Second Lieutenant of Co. G, and the troops were immediately 
sent to the front. After the fight at Birch Coolie he started for 
St. Paul with Col. Prince, bearing dispatches for Gov. Ramsey. 

RATHER amusing. 

They arrived at St. Peter at 9 o'clock that night and changed 
horses. Below St. Peter they stopped at Harry Lamberton's 
where Judge Flandrau was stopping, whom Mayor Prince wished 
to see on business. The latter knocked at the door and after 
considerable delay a light appeared and a voice from the inside 
asked — " Who 's there ? " *' Mayor Prince, from St. Paul ! " was 
the reply. Presently the door was opened about a foot by Mr. 
Lamberton with a lamp in hand, revealing Judge Flandrau at 
the head of the stairs with a double-barrelled shot-gun cocked 


and bearing upon the untimely visitors. Lamberton held the door 
in that position until Flandrau reported the visitors " O. K." and 
they were admitted. These gentlemen were " neither naked nor 
clothed, barefoot nor shod," but each were robed in a garment 
which covered them, and after a hearty laugh at the situation, 
business was transacted, a lunch discussed and washed down 
and the guests took their departure. The scene was a ludicrous 
one, but the state of affairs made the precaution necessary. 


Capt. Stees was with his regiment, the Sixth Minnesota, until 
the close of the war ; was on two Indian expeditions under Gen. 
Sibley ; then went south to that graveyard of disease, Helena, 
Ark., or, as the boys were pleased to call it, " Hell-in-Arkan- 
saw." Thence to Missouri and brigaded with the Sixteenth 
army corps at New Orleans ; then around to Dauphin Island and 
up the Mobile Bay at the taking of Spanish Fort and Fort 
Blakely and the fall of Mobile in April, 1865. After Richmond 
had been taken and Lee surrendered, the regiment then went to 
Montgomery, Ala., and remained there until July, when they 
were ordered home and mustered out at Fort Snelling August 
19, 1865. 

After this he spent twelve years in California, when, return- 
ing to St. Paul he married and settled down engaging in the fur- 
niture business with his brother. When the Stees Brothers sold 
out to Quinby & Abbott at the beginning of the present year, he 
remained with the new firm taking charge of the undertaking 
department making that his specialty. 

As regards age Capt. Stees holds his own pretty well, and 
as an old veteran from Grand Forks remarked to him at the 
G. A. R. encampment at Minneapolis — " If I didn't know it was 
twenty-three years ago since I did the first guard duty I ever did 
in my life under you as Lieut. Stees at Fort Ridgley on the night 
before the fight at Birch Coolie, I would say you were not a day 
older now than you were then." And he has never forgotten the 
barrel of pickles issued to his men by the writer, then Major 
C. S. U. S. Army at St. Cloud, on their return from the second 
Indian expedition under Gen. Sibley. 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 311 


Capt. Stees is a man of fine social qualities ; of medium size; 
quick in his movements ; impulsive; ready to resent a wrong or 
a fancied injury, and yet he is brave, generous and kind-hearted. 
His large experience of events of early days in the history of our 
State and his retentive memory, enable me to give a very read- 
able and interesting Pen Picture of his life. He is just in the 
prime of his manhood and is a gentleman of more than ordinary 


Mr. Pollock was born in Dearborn County, Indiana, of 
Scotch-Irish parents, in 1825. He was educated in a log school- 
house and graduated at the age of ten years, occasionally after- 
wards studying by the light of a hickory-bark fire during the 
time he worked on the home farm. At the age of twenty-one 
he removed to Cincinnati and in the spring of 1851 he came to 
St. Paul expecting to return in the fall, not deeming it safe for 
any one but a Canadian Frenchman to rer^iain so far north dur- 
ing the winter. 


In connection with his present partner, Mr. Donaldson, Mr. 
Pollock purchased several pieces of real estate in block 44, Kitt- 
son's addition, for $400; now worth ^50,000 ; also a claim for 160 
acres for ^50, costing in the aggregate ;^200 ; now^ worth ;S20,ooo, 
and finding that these purchases kept him from returning East he 
concluded to remain in St. Paul and issued his card as an archi- 
tect and builder, and the handsome residences of the late Horace 
and J. E. Thompson and J. C. Burbank, attest his fine taste in this 
natural line of his genius. 

In 1 85 1 he entered into partnership with Mr. A. S. Ogden 
in the general grocery business, and in the following March 
formed the partnership of the present firm of Pollock, Donaldson 
& Ogden, which has been continually in business for thirty-four 
years. He married the youngest daughter of the late Major N. 
McLean in the year 1855, ^^^ commenced housekeeping in the 
edifice still standing on the corner of Broadway and Fifth streets, 
where he lived over twenty-five years, or until he built his pres- 


ent beautiful residence on Portland avenue. He disposed of his 
old house and two lots, which cost him $16,000, for $20,000. 

Mr. Pollock is a strongly marked man, the Scotch in his 
elements predominating. He is of medium size ; sandy hair and 
whiskers, and is an indomitable worker. He and his partners 
fully verify the adage that a legitimate business constantly 
adhered to, wins in the long run. He is a quiet, unobtrusive 
gentleman, well fixed financially, and like his partner, Mr. Don- 
aldson, is in a condition to enjoy a serene and mellow old age, 
and he fully deserves all the happiness and comfort life can give. 


Born in Canada in 1833, where he learned his trade; came 
to St. Paul in 1851 ; engaged with Borup & Oakes in their lum- 
bering mills; then in their flouring mills ; then had charge of 
the old Winslow mill ; then worked in the Government mills at 
Winnebago Agency; went to California in 1858 ; returned to St. 
Paul in 1866, and continued to follow his trade in different parts 
of the State up to 1878, when he engaged as head miller in the 
Brainerd mills, where I believe he now is. He is a man who 
thoroughly understands his business ; is industrious, and is an 
active worker in the great busy bee-hive of life. 


Mr. Riheldaffer was born in Pennsylvania, of German-Irish 
descent, in 1818 ; was educated at West Alexandria Washington 
College, in the Princeton Theological Seminary ; graduated in 
1 848 ; became the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at 
Fort Wayne, Indiana; came to St. Paul in 1851 ; organized 
and built the Central Presbyterian Church near the Capitol, and 
was minister of this church thirteen years. In 1858 he opened 
the first and then only Protestant Female Seminary in the State,, 
and his school was located on the corner of Summit avenue and 
St. Peter street. He continued this seminar}' for ten \'ears, 
when, in 1868 he was appointed superintendent of the State 
Reform School, which position he still holds. Previous to this 
he was a member of the Board and also for seven years Regent 
of the State University. He is also trustee of the Albert Lea 
college, which is really only an off-shoot of his old seminary. 

OF ST. PA UL, MIXN. 313 


He owned three lots on the corner of Summit avenue and 
St. Peter street, 150 by 186, upon which his school buildings 
stood, and which cost him originally $1,200; worth now $50,- 
000 ; he also owned eleven lots in the immediate neighborhood 
of the last named property, for which he paid $3,000; could 
not be bought now for less than $100,000; a lot on Fifth street, 
nearly opposite the Custom House, costing him $350, is now 
worth $25,000; another lot near Hope Church, which cost him 
$600, worth $8,000 ; three lots close to Stillwater street, valued 
at $15,000, cost him $125. Of course had Mr. Riheldaffer held 
on to his lots until the present day, he would have been a very 
rich man, but like many others he didn't. 

No man in the State of Minnesota is better fitted for the 
position of Superintendent of the Reform School, than ?vlr. 
Riheldaffer. He has built the school up to its present flourish- 
ing condition, which is the finest of any institution in the State, 
and nobody could ask for a better man. Surrounded by one 
hundred and twenty-eight boys and fourteen girls, everything 
moves along like clock-work, and the expenses are kept down 
to a consistent grade of economy. The State owns sixty-three 
acres, which originally cost $17,000; worth now $126,000; 
$/ 5,000 have been expended in improvements, making the insti- 
tution — land and buildings — valued at $201,000, — the State gain- 
ing a profit on the land alone of $109,000. 


I remember Mr. Riheldaffer about thirty years ago, as a 
tall, well-proportioned gentleman, with black hair and black 
whiskers ; moderate in his speech but decisive in opinions. He 
has grown stouter now and his hair and whiskers are gray, 
although his complexion is florid and he is the picture of health, 
bordering on to the likenesses of the old patriarchs of a by-gone 
age. He is a fine-looking man ; cool and decided ; possessing 
fine abilities ; careful and cautious ; very attentive to his duties, 
and during the sixteen years he has been Superintendent of the 
Reform School, nobody has questioned his honor, his honesty, 
or his manhood. A valuable citizen, his loss will be keenly fe.t 


when he steps over the river on to the other shore. He was 
married in 185 1 to Miss Catherine Ogden, and has a family of 
four children. 


Mr. Farrington is a man now about sixty years of age, 
being born in Ireland in 1826, and some thirty years ago was 
known to the writer as a banker and dealer in real estate. He 
was an enterprising gentleman and erected a number of houses 
and dealt largely in city lots, and was a member of the Legis- 
lature in 1852-3 ; a member of the City Council in 185 1-2 ; one 
of the incorporators of the Oakland Cemetery in 1853. He 
formerly lived on College avenue in what is known as the ** oc- 
tagon " house, still standing, but removed to Madison, Wiscon- 
sin, where he engaged in the banking business. He was at one 
time in 1854, a silent partner in the St. Paul Daily Times, sub- 
sequently merged into the Press; then for several years ran the 
Park Place hotel. He was a man of energy and stirring busi- 
ness qualities ; affable in his manners yet a deadly opponent 
when aroused. He was also one of the first supporters of the 
Central Presbyterian Church. He invested in Minnesota in 1849 
with his brother John, and located at St. Paul in 1851. In his 
home life he was exceedingly pleasant, and I remember him very 
sincerely, for it was he who kindly administered to my comfort 
when lying sick with a bilious fever at the old Winslow House, 
in the year 1854. He removed from St. Paul some twenty 
years ago, and I believe is now a resident of California. 


Mr. Borup was born about 1834; came to St. Paul in 1851, 
and of course was quite a young man. He eventually drifted 
into the commission business and then into the grocery business, 
and is now a sutler on the frontier. 

It is said of him that in the midst of a fight with two steam- 
boat crews, a burly roustabout was just in the act of hurling a 
large iron bar from the levee, into the brain of one of the Cap- 
tains of the boats, when Theodore rushed down and with the 
agility of a tiger and the strength of a Hercules, struck the as- 
sailant to the ground, thereby saving the life of the captain. This 


feat is pronounced by those who witnessed it as one of tlie most 
daring and decisive ever performed. 


When the Indians fired into the Minnesota Outfit in 1852 
and killed a sister of old Bets, Borup with David Oakes were in 
the store, and they both rushed to the front door and confront- 
ing the Indians Borup charged them with cowardice and mean- 
ness in firing upon inoffensive women and children, and this dar- 
ing act on his part subdued the savages and saved the loss of 
many lives, for the Indians, ashamed of themselves, skulked 
away when they originally intended to kill every Sioux in the 

Mr. Borup is a slender person ; very wiry ; very quick ; 
possesses good commercial qualities, and is eminently a man of 
fine social characteristics. He is of a quiet, undemonstrative 
nature, yet of a roving disposition, and is well known to all the 
old settlers, among whom he has grown up from a mere bo}' to 
that of a man of mature years. 


Mr. Cathcart was born in Canada about the year 1827 ; was 
educated there, and at the age of eleven years was trained in the 
mysteries of the dry-goods business. Reaching his majority he 
went to Montreal, and later removed to New York, where he 
remained until 1850; then drifted West and finally arrived at 
St. Paul in 1851 ; was at one time messenger in the Legislature. 
He was among the very first dry-goods merchants in this city, 
if not the first who made a specialty of the business. The firm 
was A. H. & J. Cathcart, and in 1852 they ran two stores ; then 
they removed their stoclv to Robert street, and in 1855 erected 
a laro;e brick buildincr on Third street, near where the First Na- 
tional Bank used to stand, and filled it with a heavy assortment 
of goods. At this time Cathcarts' was the great dry-goods 
house in the city. They passed through the disastrous times of 
1857, and in 1873 A. H. Cathcart (John having been rhurdered 
in the South,) took in a partner by the name of Oxley, and the 
store was then removed to the corner of Third and Wabasha 
streets, which occupied the whole space now devoted to the 


business purposes of Lambie & Co. and Myers & Finch. Sub- 
sequently Mr. Cathcart removed to Farmington, in Dakota 
County, where he carried on the business for several years, when 
he relinquished it and came to St. Paul where he now is. One 
of his sons, born here, became a lawyer and is now practicing in 
the city. 


Mr. Cathcart thirty years ago was a comparatively young 
man, tall, well-proportioned, with black side-whiskers, and the 
very essence of politeness. His early education in the dry-goods 
business had given him a polish which was very taking with the 
ladies. As he grew older the hair grew thinner on the top of 
his head until the crowning glory of years now picture him as 
a man passed the meridian of life. And yet he is straight, ac- 
tive, vigorous. 


John was the brother of A. H. and was one of the firm ; 
born in Canada about 1829; came to St. Paul in 1851, and the 
dry-goods firm became A. H. & J. Cathcart. During the war 
John went South to engage in the cultivation of cotton, and hav- 
ing secured a plantation in Louisiana was proceeding, with a 
partner, to commence operations, when one night, all alone, a 
body of southern men arrived at his place and ordered him to 
get up and come out. He did so, when they took him about 
eight miles from his house, and after stripping him, shot him 
through the head, and he was found dead the next morning un- 
der a tree. His body was brought to St. Paul and buried. 

I never knew the immediate cause of his death, whether it 
originated from something Cathcart said which was obnoxious 
to the then southern mind, or whether they thought he had no 
right to the land, or whether it was done out of pure deviltry 
because he was a northern man. It was sad enough to realize 
the fact that he was murdered, even if we never know the reason 
for the act. 

John was more daring than his brother. He grouped about 
him a circle of young friends, and struck out on his own re- 
sponsibility. He certainly was not wise in taking the time he 
did to make his " new departure," for a few years later would 

OF ST. PAUL, MIXy. 317 

have given him greater security to both Hfe and Hmb. He was 
esteemed in the city and his death was greatly regretted. He 
was unmarried. 


The Drummer Boy of Minnesota, noted for his dexterity on 
the drum and for his humorous nature and many excellent jokes, 
was born in Indiana in 1845, ^"<^ ^^ the age of seven years, or 
in 185 1, came to St. Paul, where he received his education, and 
was at school when, in 1861, the War of the Rebellion broke 
out, and at the age of sixteen years he joined Company K, of 
the Second Minnesota Regiment, and went to the front as the 
favorite drummer boy of the boys in blue ; was in the battles of 
Mill Spring, Shiloh, Corinth, Perryville, Stone River, Chicka- 
mauga and many others. His time expiring, he re-enlisted, and 
soon after joined Sherman's forces in Georgia and was with him 
in his grand march to the sea ; and he was also at the grand 
review at Washington, and during all the war he never was 
wounded or received a scratch. He returned home in 1865 and 
engaged in various occupations, among which was a favorite 
saloon known as *' Billy Bircher's Place," in West St. Paul. 
He claims to be the youngest soldier now living of the great 
army of the Union, having enlisted in 1861 and passed through 
the entire service. He also beat the first long roll for the first 
victory of the war at Mill Spring, and the last long roll of victory 
at Bentonville, North Carolina. Mr. Bircher gave up his saloon 
in West St. Paul and engaged in the grocery business with 
James McGrath, and retiring from this he removed into Dakota 
County, where he is now cultivating the soil. He was married 
to Mary Young in 1869 and has three children. 

diamond cut diamond. 

Bircher is full of jokes. At the late State Fair there was a 
great crowd rushing on to the cars to get seats, and among the 
number were the members of the Great Western Band. Two of 
them secured comfortable positions, leaving '' Billy " out in the 
cold, when he made up his mind to get even with them, so when 
a friend and his lady entered the cars he remarked carelessl}' — 
" Cars pretty full." " Yes," said the friend. " I wouldn't care 


only I have my wife with me." " Come along with me,'-' said 
Bircher, ** and I'll get you a seat," and forthwith he proceeded to 
the place occupied by his fellow musicians, and after introducing 
both the lady and the gentleman to his friends, mildly remarked — 
'* These people would like a seat." Of course they got it, but 
wnth a mental reservation on the part of the victims that they 
owed " Billy " Bircher just one. 


Returning from the Rochester Fair the train reached a way- 
station in the night, dark and rainy. The members of the Great 
Western Band were on board, and so was " Billy," who, very 
tired at the time the cars stopped, was dozing, when the conduc- 
tor called out — " West St. Paul ! " Bircher started up, rubbed 
his eyes, looked out of the window, seized his drum and, half 
asleep, amid the darkness and the rain, jumped on to the plat- 
form while the train moved on, and at the end of the car could 
be seen a musician laughing over the victory he had achieved 
and tooting on his instrument. " That ain't West St. Paul, 
Bircher," cried out one of his friends. "Oh, you get out," said 
Bircher ; ** I was here before you were born ; I guess I know 
West St. Paul when I see it." Sauntering up to the depot he 
met the man in charge, who, surprised, asked — *' What's the 

matter ? Left ? " " Left ! the d 1, what do you mean ? " asked 

Bircher. " Why, this is Randolph, thirty-two miles from St. 
Pi.UL ! " To use a slang phrase, Bircher " tumbled " at once, and 
soon after the cars backed down and took him on board, and 
since then " Billy " has not been playing as many practical jokes 
as usual, for he found out that there is truth in the old axiom: 
" Diamond cut diamond." 


Mr. Bircher is a short, chunky man, very social and very 
kind-hearted ; broad-guaged in his generosity and delights in 
narrating many thrilling scenes of the war. Once, in the spring 
of i88i, when West St. Paul was flooded, many neighbors took 
shelter under " Billy's " hospitable roof, and there they were re- 
ceived kindly, tenderly treated by the proprietor and his wife and a 
young man by the name of Conrad Stautz, then in his emplo)-, 


and many years will elapse before those then gath ered in safety 
from the roaring flood in Mr. Bircher's humble home, will forget 
his kindly act. He is still the " drummer boy," where he has been 
for twenty years, in the Great Western Band, and can perform 
on either the little or the big drum, taking the blue ribbon as the 
best manipulator of the sticks. He is a gentleman very univer- 
sally esteemed for his many excellent qualities and bears a good 
reputation as an honorable man. 


It is stated that there is an average of one death per minute 
among the population of the world, and when one comes to think 
what an enormous number of inhabitants must be in that other 
land to which we are all going, the question naturally arises, 
"Where are all these people and what are they doing?" In 
round numbers the dead must exceed billions upon billions. 
Do they work ? Have they bodies ? How is it possible among 
all that crowd of billions for one to find his relatives and friends ? 
How can they all nestle in Abraham's bosom? The dead must 
exceed many times the living, and there are now on the earth 
at least 900,000,000 ; and it puzzles the thinking mind to know 
where they are and what they are doing. One is impressed with 
these thoughts by the fact that a little over two years ago the 
writer commenced his Pen Pictures and since then twenty old 
settlers have gone to join the great crowd beyond — where? 


Mr. Miller was born in Virginia in 1828 and came to St. 
Paul in 185 1, or thirty-four years ago, when there was but a 
small cluster of houses where now stands a city of I2C,000 
people. He was a carpenter by trade and worked at his profes- 
sion three years. He was on intimate terms with the Indian 
chief Little Crow, and has seen many changes since his residence 
here. A few years ago he kept what was known as the Warren 
House, or better known as ** Moffett's Castle," which stood on the 
corner of Jackson and Fourth streets, where the building of the 
First National Bank now stands. He was a tall, slender man, 
somewhat moderate in his speech and in his movements, yet a 
pleasant gentleman. 



Mr. Curran was born in Ireland about the year 1806 ; came 
to St. Paul in 1851 ; opened a large dry-goods store on the 
corner of Third and Robert streets, and for that early day carried 
on an extensive trade. His two beautiful daughters clerked for 
him, and " Curran's World's Fair Store" was as well known in 
St, Paul in 1851 as Stewart's used to be in New York in later 

About this time there was a law upon the Territorial Statute 
book authorizing imprisonment for debt, and in the little old, 
dark, weather-beaten, unpainted, one-story wooden jail, which 
stood near where the present stone one now stands, several per- 
sons had been confined because they could not discharge their 
honest obligations, and one prisoner died in jail before he could 
satisfy the demands of his creditors. And this occurred right 
in the city of St. Paul! Curran was just the man to push busi- 
ness, and of course he became involved, and by the advice of his 
lawyer stepped across into Wisconsin to save himself from crimi- 
nal arrest. The necessity for this act brought out the indigna- 
tion of his friends, and indeed the indignation of all the friends 
of those who were or might become financially unfortunate, and 
Judge Goodrich stepped to the front as the champion of the 
repeal of this obnoxious law, and prepared a bill for that purpose 
which was presented to the Legislature of 1854. "Bill Davis," 
of this city, a member of the House, had the bill in charge, and 
after it had passed both branches of the Legislature and had gone 
into the hands of the Engrossing Clerk, it could nowhere be 
found, and the clerk claimed that it had been either lost or stolen. 


Goodrich and Davis were petrifiedly mad ! They stormed 
about among the members and through the halls of the building ; 
held secret meetings ; appointed detectives, and swore vengeance 
upon the person who had perpetrated the outrage. And so a 
week or more passed, when a suspicious member was spotted, and 
as he came out of the House of Representatives embellished with 
his usual innocent and child-like smile, Davis demanded the bill. 
" Oh ! " he said, " he didn't have the bill ; he positively knew 
nothing about it! He would be ashamed to do so dirty a trick." 


Here Goodrich, who had informed Davis that the bill had been 
seen and was about to leave the Capitol, stepped in front of the 
retiring member and said — " You have the bill now in your 
pocket. If this be not so, hold me responsible." Then Davis 

said — '* G d you, give me that bill," drawing a pistol 

and putting it close to his head, while Judge Goodrich stood near 
by with his eyes flashing fire. '' Give me that bill ! " again cried 

Davis, *' or I'll blow your d d brains out in two minutes," at 

the same time drawing out his watch and cocking his pistol ! 
The '* Heathen Chinee " hesitated a minute, when Davis exclaimed 
— '* One minute more and you are a dead man ! " and out from 
the member's coat pocket came the stolen bill ! Davis and Good- 
rich were so rejoiced to get back again their little pet that they 
forgot to administer severe punishment to the member, and he 
fortunately escaped unhurt, yet if he had not given up the bill 
just when he did, he would have been a dead man, for in those 
days men meant what they said when they drew a pistol on 
another. The bill passed both houses, was signed by Gov. 
Gorman, and the obnoxious law was wiped from the statute book, 
after having been in force from 1849, some four years. 

This detestable law really broke Curran up, for it took time 
to repeal it, and before that was accomplished his business suf- 
fered and he finally sold out to Capt. Louis Robert. 


Curran was a medium-sized man ; rather slenderly built, and 
if I remember correctly, with a smooth face, ruddy complexion, 
aggressive, insinuating, quick, brusk, with business-movements, 
possessing great energy, and a man of nerve and venture. Were 
he in business to-day he would make his mark as a first-class 
merchant. He lived in a brick house which stood on Robert 
street, west of Third, overlooking the river, and when this house 
was torn down to make way for a business block, the bricks 
were used in the erection of Capt. Louis Robert's new house at 
the head of the same street, above Eighth. I have already men- 
tioned the fact that his two daughters married and both now live 
in this city, but where Mr. Curran at present is, or whether he is 
still alive. I do not know. 




An odd genius was Henry McKenty. Small, wiry, active,, 
genial, persevering, pushing, public-spirited, generous, sensitive, 
proud, everlastingly quick at a bargain, he seemed to be driven 
by a forty-horse steam power engine, and in the prime of his life 
he used the capacity of the machine for all it was worth. His 
ideas were broad and liberal, and he had nerve and courage to 
carry them to completion. He came to St. Paul just at a time 
when his genius as a real estate man had ample opportunity 
for free scope, and he led off in his special department as the 
great warrior of his profession. He was pre-eminently king ! 
He was an original, bold, startling, aggressive land operator, not 
confined to the limits of a city or village, but reaching out for 
"broad acres," on a broad platform, with broad and liberal views 
of business, and he headed the column until he went down in 
the trying times of 1857-8. McKenty was truly a character! 
In early life a little wild, he came west not only to retrieve what 
he had lost but to gain in the affection of one he subsequently 
called — wife. He won both, but the end, oh, how sad ! how 
bitter ! 


" Mac ! I have no money, but I '11 take a lot of you for a 
watch !" said the writer in 1853. "Agreed," said the smiling 
land operator. ** I have a lot in Mankato ; give me your watch 
and I will give you your deed," and the bargain was closed. 
The watch was worth ;^50, the lot $10. I held the property tor 
about twenty-five years when I found it was a part of an uncouth 
stone quarry, and some way or other I had lost sight of the mat- 
ter until recently, when I discovered the identical lot to be a. 
valuable piece of real estate ! I guess I have Mac's deed yet; am 
going to look it up ! Possibly I 've struck oil. 

In 1853 a little, brisk-appearing citizen asked Dr. Mann if he 
had come to the city to loan money, if so he could get him five per 
cent.! "That's nothing," said the Doctor, "I can get five per 
cent, in Philadelphia." " Oh ! " said the little gentleman, " I 
mean five per cent, per month, and good paper at that." "Oh-ho ! 
aha ! yes ! " said the Doctor, and a few days after he loaned a 
number of little sums and they were all paid back with the lib- 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 323 

eral five per cent, interest One morning this little frisky man 
wanted to sell the Doctor a lot, and succeeded in doing so, when 
towards night he came back and said : 

" See here, Doctor, I will give you one hundred dollars 
advance on that lot I sold you," and of course the Doctor took 
it and repeated the transaction several times thereafter. This 
little, active, busy, pleasant man, was Henry McKenty. 


Pennock Pusey was brought up under Quaker influences, and 
when McKenty told him he would give him three and a half 
per cent, per month for the use of his money, he declined the 
offer, honestly believing in those days that it would be wrong for 
him to do so, but before the end of the war Pusey got bravely 
over this twinge of conscience and I should now be afraid to 
offer him two and one-half per cent, per month ! Mac compro- 
mised on a less rate of interest ; received the money ; bought 
"broad acres" for $1.25 per acre, and in less than a year after 
Pusey purchased some of this same property at $2.50 per acre, 
and Mac made 58 per cent, on his investment! That cured 
Pusey of any further conscientious scruples respecting the loan- 
ing of money on a good rate of interest ! and especially as he 
sold this same land afterwards to Dalrymple for $15 per acre. 

In 1854 Mac entered several thousand acres of prairie land 
in Washington County at ;^i.25 per acre; in 1855 1^*^ ^old the 
same land for ;^5 per acre, and cleared 300 per cent., or $23,000. 
He immediately entered again, and again other land, always 
in ** broad acres," and came out with tremendous profits. The 
great depression of 1857-8 carried land down and with it many 
honest, sagacious, honorable men, and they never recovered from 
the disaster, 


A year or two after the financial crash of 1857, McKenty 
began to feel the effects of hard times, and occasionally would 
not be in condition to pay his little debts as promptly and liber- 
ally as formerly. On this point he was extremely sensitive. 
Coming down Third street one day the writer observed both of 
the large glasses in his office door broken all to pieces. Enter- 


ing I found the smiling land operator and looking around in- 
quired what was the matter " Oh, nothing, nothing much, sir ; 
only a big dog, sir, went through that window, sir ! Bad dog, 
sir ! bad dog, sir ! " and Mac smiled as serenely as though he 
had just come in possession of a great fortune. I left him smil- 
ing, w^hen I learned a few doors below that a sort of pugnacious 
individual by the name of H. E. Baker, generally called He 
Baker, had dunned Mac for a little bill and in seeking to press 
his claims in a somewhat aggravated manner, Mac seized him 
quickly in the foundation of his pantaloons and pitched him 
headlong through the window on to the sidewalk, and ever after 
that when any allusion was made to the broken window, he 
would curl his lip and exclaim — " A dog, sir ! nothing but a dog, 
sir ! a d-o-g ! " 


Times continued bad. McKenty still kept his office on the 
corner of Cedar and Third streets, but one could see that he was 
financially worried. The same old pleasant smile played about 
his features and the same old hopeful tone of voice greeted his 
acquaintances, yet to one who knew him well there was a tinge 
of sadness which elicited the secret sympathy of all his old and 
well-tried friends. Knowing that he must be in need of money, 
I said to him one day — " Mac, I will give you ^5 for that ancient 
rocking-chair," pointing to an old-fashioned rocker with the hair 
seat all out and the springs considerably smashed. *' No, sir ; 
you can't have it sir ! at that price, sir ! too much, sir ! too much, 
sir ! will take $4, sir, for that chair, sir ! $4, sir ! " and I paid him 
the money and shall never forget the tear as it gathered in his 
eye and shone through the sweet smile which radiated his face. 
Of course the chair was repaired, and while seated in it one 
evening, Mac came into my home and in glowing terms pictured 
to me what could be done in the oil regions if he only had a lit- 
tle money, so I pooled in $400, and as I never received any 
equivalent back, the chair cost me just $404. It has been my 
favorite seat now for over twent}- years, and in it I have dreamed 
of the past, of its old owner, of the ups and downs of life, and 
of the many scenes and incidents portrayed in my Pen Pictures. 
Dear old chair ! no matter what thy history may have been, I 


love thee still. Within thy soft cushioned folds I feel secure 
from the outer world, and while I rock leisurely to and fro, 
sometimes I think I hear gentle voices from another sphere whis- 
pering — " Peace! peace!" How unselfish is that old chair! how 
faithful ! how true ! how serene ! how comfortable ! how full of 
by-gone memories. 


Sometime in 1853 McKenty secured land where Minne- 
apolis now stands, and hearing that certain parties had threat- 
ened to bid on it over himself, he went to a cabinet-maker and 
ordered two coffins, both painted black ; then to a livery stable 
and procured a 'bus ; then secured a band of music, and with 
the coffins and the musicians and flags and the people, (free ride) 
he drove to the place where the bidding was to be, (I think Still- 
water,) and arriving amid a great crowd placed the coffins on the 
ground, and on the coffins laid two huge pistols, and then mount- 
ing one of the coffins he called out aloud — ** Now go on with 
your bidding ! " Of course nobody under the circumstances 
bid, and Mac got the land. I do not give this as of my own 
personal knowledge, but as obtained from other parties. 


Tired with waiting for the good times to come, Mr, Mc- 
Kenty sought the oil regions in hopes to retrieve his losses, but 
there fate went against him and returning to St. Paul he col- 
lected a little money and soon after started for California, but he 
found no relief in the golden city, and finally drifted back to his 
old stamping ground, a disheartened, discouraged, changed 
man, but still he struggled to regain his lost footing. I met him 
at the Merchants hotel the day before he passed out of sight for- 
ever. He sat reading a newspaper when Col. Shaw glanced over 
his shoulder and found that the print was upside down. He in- 
vited him to dinner and as he sat waiting to be served, he devoted 
his time in thoughtlessly catching flies. The next day he was 
dead. Unable to " endure the slings and arrows of outrageous 
fortune," in a fit of desperation he " flew to ills he knew not of," 
and a small mound in Oakland Cemetery with no monument, 
marks the place where repose the remains of Henry McKenty ! 



Mr. McKenty was born in Pennsylvania in 1821 ; came to 
St. Paul in 1851 and brought some capital with him with which 
to operate ; dealt largely in " broad acres," and at one time 
owned nearly all the land about Lake Como except that in the 
possession of Mr. Aldrich. To make these lands available he 
built a road to them at a cost of ^6,000 in gold. He died by his 
own hand, a pistol shot, on the lOth of August, 1869, aged forty- 
eight years. And what is remarkable his youngest daughter 
soon after followed him, and his wife, unable to bear these terri- 
ble troubles, put an end to her existence by hanging herself in 
her own house, leaving one sad, forlorn, desolate, heart-broken 
daughter, who subsequently went to Philadelphia and married a 
rich man. 

Poor McKenty ! Once joyous! happy! ambitious! pros- 
perous ! generous ! — high up on the teeter-taunter board of life, 
and then I down again on the other end, groping in the darkness 
of despair, poor, heart-broken ! desolate ! dead ! I throw the 
mantle of charity over thy deed and drop a green sprig upon thy 
grave ! 


Major Wilson was born in Ohio in 1842, and is a son of 
the late Gen. Thomas W. Wilson ; came to St. Paul with his 
parents in 1851 ; attended Miss Harriet E. Bishop's school that 
year, and also a mission school kept by Rev. Mr. Breck, and is 
among the oldest scholars living of both these schools. When 
quite young he seemed to possess no fear, and was at one time 
the captain and leader of the upper town boys vs. the lower town, 
and all old citizens can readily recall many contests between 
these two factions, some of which ended in pitched battles. He 
was one of the boys who in 1852 transformed William S. Comb's 
sign so as to read, " Women's Side Combs," and though not 
maliciously inclined, yet he was full of mischief. 


When passing the upper levee with other boys, he heard 
screams in the direction of the river, to which point he and his 
companions rushed, and there they found a man about to sink in 

OF ST. PAUL, MINN, • 327 

the water for the third time, and although there were a number 
of grown persons witnessing the struggHng victim, not a soul 
moved to save him. Young Wilson pulled off his boots, jumped 
into the river, swam to the man who had already sunk below the 
surface, seized him by the hair and pulled him to the shore 
Such an act of bravery was never excelled by a boy only ten 
years old, except, perhaps, in another case when he rescued a 
valuable package from a burning building. 

In 1852 the old Daniels House, a wooden building of four 
stories, on the upper levee, w^as in flames. " Can't you save that 
valuable package ? " asked a lady boarder as she frantically and 
piteously looked up into the faces of a number of men, at the 
same time pointing to the burning building, but they made no 
response, when young Wilson cried out — " I '11 go ! " and he did 
go, and brought out the valuables, and almost immediately the 
whole frame-work fell in with a terrible crash ! These brave traits 
of character brought him into prominence, and he was praised by 
the adult population and lionized as a hero by the boys. 


In 1853 young Wilson with his brother engaged in trading 
with the Sioux Indians at Shakopee, he being at that time the 
only white boy in the place, and it was then and there that he 
first gained a knowledge of the Sioux language and habits, and 
it is amusing to see after a lapse of some thirty years, how the 
Indians will readily recognize '' the little black head," as they 
used to call him. He has also been the recipient of many beau- 
tiful presents from several Indian tribes. In 1855-6-7 he attended 
school at Granville, Ohio, and on returning to Minnesota took 
up the occupation of farming, but left it in 1861 to join the Union 
army, which he did, and served until the last Confederate soldier 
laid down his arms. He was promoted step by step, and each 
time for meritorious conduct. 


In 1864, in company with Gen. Stoneman, he was captured 
on what is known as the Stoneman raid through the State of 
Georgia, and with the balance of the men was at once taken to 


Andersonville prison, where he was kept six months, or until 
Gen. Sherman began his march to the sea. He was then ordered 
to Charleston, a city which was at that time under strong bom- 
bardment from our army. He was also prisoner at Monticello. 
Fla., Florence, S. C, Goldsborough, and other places. 

He made his escape from Florence prison in company with 
fifteen others, but was recaptured by the use of bloodhounds, at 
which time three of the fifteen prisoners were killed and seven 
of the remaining ones died before reaching the Florence prison 
again. He is now the president of the Ex-Andersonville Prison- 
ers' Association in this State, which alone is sufficient proof that 
the statements herein made are correct, and that he is held in 
high esteem by his fellow prisoners. At the close of the war he 
was tendered a position in the regular army, which he declined. 


In 1868, 1869 and 1870, Maj. Wilson did a large portion of 
the work upon the Lake Superior & Minnesota Railroad between 
this city and the Northern Pacific Junction, and received at the 
hands of the employes under him a beautiful gold watch and 
chain worth $500, the contributions towards buying it coming 
from over two thousand men. He married in 1871 Miss Miller 
of Ohio, who died in 1884, leaving a son and daughter. From 
1872 to 1877 he was in the real estate business in this city, the 
firm being T. W. Wilson & Son, and during all of which }'ears 
he took an active part in politics, notably the nomination and 
election of Dr. Stewart to Congress. 

In 1878 he was appointed inspector of Customs at Grand 
Portage, Minn., and held the office for about four years, when, 
on account of government contracts which he had received, 
together with mining and lumbering interests, he resigned the 
office and gave his attention to private business. In 1881 he,, 
with E. F. and A. Lemay, formed a partnership under the firm 
name of Wilson, Lemay & Son and engaged in railroad and 
harbor building, since which date they have built the Harbor of 
Refuge at Grand Marias, on Lake Superior, together with a large 
amount of railroad and harbor work done at and near Duluth. 
Minn., and also at Superior, Wis. He was the first man to open. 

OF ST. PA UL, 3IINN. 329 

up the mine of the Silver and Copper Island Mining Company, 
and was its first superintendent and director and is still a stock- 

Maj. Wilson is a rather slender, wiry man, full of energy, and 
uses indomitable will-power in his aims and in his purposes. He 
is what miners would call a *' rustler," has a very active brain 
backed by nerve, and enters earnestly into all enterprises with 
which he is connected. He is liberal in his disposition, social in 
his nature, a natural schemer, persistent in his efforts, and devoted 
in his friendships — a man of much force of character. 


In 1 85 1 the old post office was kept in a small log building 
where the Merchants' hotel now stands, corner of Third and 
Jackson streets. A diminutive box about two feet square con- 
tained receptacles for letters and a door with several lights of 
glass in the top, shut out inquisitive people from entering the 
sanctum sanctorum. In those early days many weeks elapsed 
before letters were received, and it was natural that men of fami- 
lies, and especially young men, should feel anxious to get some 
letters from home or from their sweet-hearts, so when the mail 
came in, groups would gather about the office and await the 
delivery of the long looked for and expected tidings. On one 
of these occasions James Humphrey, Abram Elfelt, C. P. V. Lull 
and others were in front of the post office when the mail arrived, 
and after seeing the worthy postmaster, J. W. Bass, inspect the 
letters very deliberately and put them away in their places again, 
and then look at his watch and lock the door and go to dinner, 
they could restrain their impatience no longer and broke out 
with words of indignation. Lull caught the sentiment and 
agreed if the crowd would back him, he would burst open the 
door, and as they assented to do so, in \Vent the door with a 
bang. Of course any such attempt to break open the doors of 
the post office now would meet with severe punishment, but Bass 
only knit his brows and grumbled about being in such a hurry, 
and that ended the matter. Tempora miitantiir — times have 
changed. The old postmaster and all the parties mentioned are 
still living. 



Judcre Emmett is, or was years ago when in the city, a man 
above medium size, quite slender, cleanly shaven, and very pleas- 
ant in his intercourse with his fellow-men. He was born in Ohio 
about 1827; was well educated, studied law and was admitted 
to practice when quite young. He came to St. Paul in 1851 
and was at one time in partnership with H. L. Moss, and also 
with James Smith, Jr.; was Attorney General under Gov. Gorman 
in 1854; was first Chief Justice of the State, being elected in 
1857, ^""'d served for seven years. He then carried on the prac- 
tice of his profession in this city for some time, and finally moved 
to Faribault, and from thence to Ortonville, Big Stone lake. He 
was very generally esteemed for his ability as a lawyer and a 
judge, as well as for those amiable traits of character which 
adorned the man. He was of a retiring disposition, undemon- 
strative, unassuming — a quiet, solid, genial gentleman and citizen. 


Was born in England in 1842; came with his parents to 
Cincinnati in the spring of 1845, ^^"^d from thence to St. Paul in 
1 85 I. He was educated chiefly in the parochial school of the 
Central Church, this city. For several years he assisted in his 
father's business on Third street, and finally became a partner in 
the same, until its close in 1874. After this for a year or more 
he became traveling agent for Eastern houses in the same line 
of trade, traveling almost entirely in the South for the benefit of 
his health, and finally, some eight or nine years since, went into 
the insurance business, in which he still successfully remains. 

Mr. Marvin is a man of middle height, inclining to be stout 
and looks somewhat older than he is. He is married and the 
father of three children, and is emphatically a domestic man, an 
extensive and inveterate reader, his family and his books when 
away from business, engrossing his attention to the exclusion 
of outside social life. Peculiarly reticent in manner he is gen- 
erous to a fault, but is little understood except by the ver}- few 
who come to know the faculty he has for retaining and assimi- 
lating the results of his habit of reading, and the sensible views 
he holds in relation to men and things generally. 



Was born in Berlin in 1819; emigrated to America in 
1849 ; resided for a year or so at Chicago and St. Louis ; came 
to St. Paul in 1851 ; learned the trade of a finisher of furniture 
and for a time worked for Stees & Hunt ; left St. Paul in 1 879. 
He was a great lover of theatricals and performed in the German 
dramatic societies of this city and is well remembered by many 
German citizens. He was a small man, very quick and perfectly 
at home on the stage, where he now is playing in Cincinnati. 
Herman H., his son, was born in 1847; came to St. Paul in 
1 85 1 and has remained here ever since; was for a time in the 
tea and tobacco business, but is now engaged in real estate on 
the West Side. He is like his father, small, but active, smart 
and gentlemanly. 


Mr. Clark was born in Ohio in 1824; was educated at the 
common schools three months and then labored on a farm. He 
learned the trade of a joiner and carpenter and came to St. Paul 
in 1 85 1 ; worked on the old Court House when flour was ten 
dollars per barrel and all kinds of provisions were very high. 
At night he toiled in his cellar making doors, sashes, etc. He 
bought a farm in 1854 a few miles from St. Paul on the Hudson 
road, for about ninety cents per acre, and sold it at the rate of 
fifty dollars per acre. Previous to 1854 he had built over two 
hundred houses in St. Paul, being a carpenter and joiner, and a 
rusher at that. When Mr. Clark with his wife arrived at our 
levee he saw a man named Bully Wells trying to shoot another 
man by the name of McLagan, and his wife asked earnestly — 
** What kind of a country are you taking me to ? " Clark said 
he didn't really know himself — at least this shooting business 
was not down on the program when he started. Still he had 
faith in the place and has it yet. He is a quick, active, nervous 
man, full of energy, social and pleasant, of good size, and has 
been a man of industry all his life. Since his arrival here both 
his boy, seven years old, and his wife have died, leaving him 
alone in the world. The property he has struggled so many 
years to retain is now becoming very valuable, and it is fair to 
presume that if he lives ten years longer — and I sincerely hope 


that he may Hve twenty years — he will be able to enjoy in ele- 
gant leisure the fruits of his early struggle. 


Mr. Smith is a living illustration of how a man can start on 
the first round of the financial ladder, climb to the top by his own 
exertions, and then fall through the instrumentality of others, 
not himself, clearly demonstrating that we are creatures of cir- 
cumstances rather than " architects of our own fortunes." Grant 
won victories on battle fields because it was to be so, but failed 
in Wall street because of circumstances over which he had no 
control. We too often pride ourselves upon our puny power, 
our greatness, our sagacity, our superior genius, our business 
qualifications, when after all it is only luck, or what is the same 
thins — circumstances. Had not circumstances turned a";ainst 
Mr. Smith when in the heighth of his financial success, he proba- 
bly would have been a millionaire — now he sells vegetables in 
the market. And what is true of him is true of hundreds and 
thousands of others. He was born in Vermont in 1825, \vhere 
he was educated and worked on a farm; married in 1845 ^^^^ 
moved to Wisconsin ; farmed for a w^iile and came to St. Paul 
in 1 85 1. Here he cut wood for Capt. Wilkin for fifty cents per 
cord, at the same time packed bran, but his health failing he col- 
lected bills for Samuel Seargent for a year or so, when he was 
elected a Justice of the Peace in 1852; tried over four hundred 
cases; never had a jury trial; one case only w^as appealed; 
decision sustained. He continued buying and selling and barter- 
ing up to 1853-4, when he entered the banking business, opening 
his office in the corner of the old brick building which stood at 
the junction of Third and Minnesota streets ; continued here for 
five years, and then, fitting up a handsome office in the old Fuller 
House, corner of Seventh and Jackson streets, moved there and 
remained in business up to 1857. This year the Ohio Trust 
Company failed and Smith lost $28,000 by their paper, and in 
one day had to meet $86,000 for which other parties were respon- 
sible, so he closed his banking doors and never opened them 
again. He made no assignment, nor did he go into bankruptc}-, 
but turned out all his property to meet his debts. In 1856 he 
bought of a Mr. Burns the stone house on Dayton's bluff known 


as the Davidson property, and this went with his other assets. 
His wife owns several acres near the old place, and this Mr. 
Smith cultivates, raising asparagus and small fruits and sells 
them at the market. He is a man who is seldom seen in the city 
except upon business ; has withdrawn as it were almost entirely 
from society, and makes his home all the heaven he can find 
here, a quiet, undemonstrative, old-time gentleman. 


A tall, strong, muscular man is Mr. Belland, son of the old 
and noted scout who died only a short time ago, and a man who 
clearly shows his familiarity with frontier life. He was born in 
Lac qui Parle in this State in 1840, and came down the Minne- 
sota river in 1841 in a birch-bark canoe to Mendota and thence 
down the Mississippi to Pig's Eye, below St. Paul, where he 
remained seven years ; removed to Crow Wing, but the next 
spring came back in another birch-bark canoe with H. M. Rice, 
down the Mississippi to Mendota ; attended a French school — 
the first school of the kind in the State — at Mendota ; came* to 
West St. Paul in 1851 ; was a pupil of the Cathedral school 
three years and also of the college at Canada ; worked for Louis 
Robert, Myrick and Forbes ; in the Indian outbreak he was 
special messenger for Gen. Pope; in 1864 in charge of a party 
of scouts he accompanied Gen. Thomas who was ordered to 
locate Fort Rice; in 1865 traded with the Indians at Yellow 

a desperate fight — discovered the murderer. 

While on his scouting mission he found two P^renchmen 
who had been fighting twelve Indians two days and two nights, 
but he came to their relief, drove the Indians away, and sav^ed the 

He was the first to discover and point out the murderer of 
the Jewett family near Mankato, who proved to be Campbell, the 
half-breed Indian, and who was subsequently hung. Mr. Belland 
has been in charge of scouts at various forts and places, but is 
now a resident of West St. Paul. He is vice-president of the 
Junior Pioneers, and is a good deal of a politician, dealing largely 
in that commodity. When considerably aroused his extreme 


heighth enables him to pick the stars out from the sky and 
throw them at his adversaries with telhng effect, and if he should 
fail in this he would make his enemies flee from the wrath to 
come by his immense proportions. 



First Maine Liquor Law — Death of the First Editor — First Conviction for 

Murder — First Completed Court House — First President of Union Fran- 

coise and St. John Societies — First Organization of Ramsey 

County Agricultural Association — First News of the In' 

dian Outbreak — First Stock Farm in Ramsey 

County — First Editorial of the Writer 

— First Restaurant — Events 

and Old Settlers of 

this Year, 


On January ist of this year a temperance convention was 
held and very earnest feelings were shown in favor of a Maine 
liquor law, and a demand being made for it the Legislature sub- 
sequently passed a bill which ^\'as endorsed by a respectable 
majority of the people to whom it was submitted for their rejec- 
tion or approval. It was later along pronounced unconstitu- 
tional, and from that day to this whisky has been sold openly in 
this city and in this State. From the records of the past it is 
quite evident that the people living in ^Minnesota in 1852 were 


most decidedly in favor of the abolition of the liquor traffic, but , 
Judge Hayner, of the Supreme Court, pronounced the law null 
and void and the matter passed into oblivion. 


On January 7th the Legislature met for the third time in 
the brick building which stood near the corner of Third and Jack- 
son streets, where the Merchants now stands. Nothing start- 
ling transpired at this session except the passage of the liquor 
law, to which allusion has already been made. Gov. Ramsey 
read his message to both Houses in the old Baptist Church, 
which has long since given place to large wholesale warehouses, 
and the huge hill and the little sacred edifice have passed into 
history, but the Governor still lives. The first Agricultural 
Society of Ramsey County was organized this year ; Daniel's 
new hotel burned; Cemetery Association formed; treaty of 
Sioux ratified by Congress ; Court House completed, (now demol- 
ished ;) Joseph R. Brown bought the Pioneer, and 


The death of Mr. Goodhue, the pioneer editor of this city 
and of this State, which occurred on the 27th of August, 1852, 
created a profound sensation, for notwithstanding his impetuous 
nature he was a man of power, whose influence was always cast 
in the scale of right. Joseph R. Brown, who succeeded him in 
the Pioneer, thus pays a just and manly tribute to his memory : 

"Col. Goodhue was a man of warm temperament, which occasionally betrayed 
him into an undue severity of comment upon those who differed with him in opin- 
ion upon political questions, and upon aspirants for office whom he deemed unworthy 
of public confidence. Many of his editorials would have done no discredit to the 
New York Her-ald in its most palmy days. They are replete with satiric humor. 
Indeed, his powers of sarcasm were limited only by his sense of propriety, and we 
can all testify to the effective mode in which they were exercised. Tn comparison 
with the ordinary controversial articles of the country press, his style of writing 
was as fine gold to lead. He will be numbered with the small band of sturdy men who 
labored constantly and with iron resolution, to establish the pillars of society in our 
Territory vipon a sound moral basis. His press was always found on the side of law, 
order, temperance and virtue. Minnesota may well lament his death and inscribe 
his name on the roll of her benefactors." 

Mr. Goodhue died at his residence, corner of Third and St. 
Peter streets, just after a terrible spasm, having been sick only a 


short time. He was buried in among a forest of trees off to the 
right of Lake Como, in ground which had been selected as a 
burial place for the dead, but which was finally abandoned 
because a good title could not at that time be obtained to the 
property. Judge Goodrich, his faithful friend, was the last to 
leave the grave after the funeral, and for years afterwards made 
many pilgrimages to it, until at last some vandal hand destroyed 
the trees and then fires obliterated the place where now repose 
the bones of the first and talented editor of the State of Minne- 
sota. When the writer became assistant editor in the Pioneer' 
office in 1853, he gathered up Mr. Goodhue's letters and docu- 
ments and passed them into the hands of his widow, now Mrs. 
Dr. Mann. A biographical sketch of Mr. Goodhue's life appears 
in Chapter Nine. 


To get to Superior in 1852 one was obliged to go to Chicago 
or foot it across the marshy country occupying near a week in the 
journey. I made the trip once on foot, and then rode over it in 
the first wagon, (and what a trip ! ) then in the first stage ; then 
in the first railroad cars. At this time there was no railroad 
west of Rockford, 111., and I came over in a stage from that point 
to Galena and took the old steamer Nominee for St. Paul. Now 
look at the miles and miles of railroad tracks, not only east but 
west of St. Paul, and one can go to Lake Superior in less than 
a day. Why, even the Pacific coast is now accessible, all accomp- 
lished inside of thirty years. 

The members of the Territorial Legislature used to make 
their journeys from Pembina to St. Paul on dog sledges in 
about twenty-five days. T\\q Pioneer oi 1852, says: 

"Each liad his cariole drawn by three fine dogs harnessed tastily with jingling 
bells and driven tandem-fashion, at 2:40 at least when put to their speed. They 
usually traveled from thirty to forty miles per day, and averaged about thirty-five 
miles. They fed the dogs but once a day on the trip, and that at night, a pound of 
pemmican each. On this they drew a man and baggage as fast as a good horse 
would travel, and on long journeys they tire horses out.'' 

Of course in those early days no horses could withstand the 
trip across the prairies in the snows on the extreme frontier, so 
dogs took their places and they became formidable and valuable 
property. St. Paul at this time had a population of 1,500. 



Elijah S. Terry, brother of John C. Terry of this city, was 
murdered by the Sisseton Indians near Pembina, where he had 
gone to teach an Indian mission school. On the 2ist of July 
Chauncy Godfrey killed his wife with a pistol when in a fit of 
jealousy. He escaped from the Territory. A Sioux Indian by the 
name of Yu-ha-zee, killed a woman by the title of Keener, who, 
with her husband and family were emigrating on to the land 
then recently purchased of the Indians. Yu-ha-zee was arrested, 
indicted by the grand jury, tried and convicted, and sentenced to 
death, all inside of a week. He was hung in a little over a year 

To my personal knowledge six or eight murderers had es- 
caped punishment in the then Territory of Minnesota when this 
poor, friendless Indian was immediately seized, tried, convicted 
and sentenced to death in five days, and then treated in a brutal 
manner up to and including his death. The scene on St. An- 
thony Hill where the execution took place, was simply disgrace- 
ful to civilization. A hooting mob followed the poor creature to 
his death on a cold and windy day, he shabbily dressed, and vul- 
gar and obscene remarks were made when he was ushered into 
eternity. I denounced the proceedings then, and denounce them 
in stronger terms now. It is a sad commentary upon so-called 
justice when one can count up not less than twenty murders in 
the past thirty years which have been committed in this city, and 
only two of the offenders have suffered the penalty of death — 
one a woman, Mrs. Bilanski, and the other an Indian, Yu-ha- 
zee ! While I admit that the Indian was no doubt guilty of the 
crime charged, yet I cannot help but mark the alacrity and the 
manner in which he was punished, while many white murderers 
were permitted to escape without even any serious effort to arrest 


Caulder was a tall, raw-boned Scotchman, Avho kept a 
liquor saloon on Third street and prided himself upon being a 
gentleman. At the time I knew him in 1854, he must have been 
fifty years old. He was a large man with strong features, had a 
quiet way of speaking, and I think died sometime in the year 



i860. It was at his saloon that an affray occurred in 1852,. 
which terminated in the death of a man named Dalton, and of 
which murder of course no notice was taken. 


" Full many a flower is born to blush unseen," etc., and this 
seems to be the case of Mr. McCormick, who, though an old 
settler is scarcely ever found posing before the public. Born in 
Pennsylvania in 181 8, he worked on a farm for a few years ; then 
attended a common school ; became a teacher and taught school ; 
was employed as book-keeper for four years in an iron furnace 
establishment in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, and came to 
St. Paul in 1852. 

Was City Comptroller of St. Paul two years ; receiver of 
the Wabasha bridge seven years ; engaged in the city and U. S. 
Engineer department for nearly three years ; has been and is 
now secretary of the board of managers of the Reform School,, 
and has held the office since 1869, or fifteen years. His famil}' 
consisted of a wife and two children ; wife and son dead ; has a 
daughter living. 


Mr. McCormick says he never expected to see St. Paul 
what it is to-day. He remembers it as a small village with huts, 
Indians, French and half-breeds, and with no outward evidence 
of its ultimate growth to its present size. One of the events 
which impressed his mind most thoroughly, was the sight of a 
dozen Chippewa Indians coming over Baptist Hill in 1852, near 
the old church, in war paint, with tomahawks, knives and guns^ 
ferociously in pursuit of the Sioux. Their wild, fierce looks and 
demoniacal yells haunt his memory yet, and why should they 
not? Then, not knowing their motive, he supposed they were 
making a raid upon the whites, and one can conceive what feel- 
ings a man would have under such circumstances. 

A more quiet and undemonstrative man does not live in St. 
Paul than Mr. McCormick. Of ordinary size and of a pleasant 
nature, he glides in and out among the busy throng almost 
unrecognized except to the few who know the beaten paths he 
has trod for the past thirty-three years. He is a man of unblem- 

OF ST. PA UL, ^^NN. 339 

ished character, retiring in his nature, strictly attentive to busi- 
ness, honorable, unambitious, and an excellent type of an honest 
man. Mr. McCormick's long connection with the Reform School 
renders him an important spoke in that great wheel of youthful 
reformation, which is one of the grandest institutions in the State 
of Minnesota. 


Mr. Shelly was born in New York in 1829 and came to St. 
Paul in 1852, or thirty-four years ago. He was a carpenter by 
trade ; held the office of City Assessor for two 3^ears ; was an 
officer in the State Constitutional Convention, sergeant-at-arms 
of both branches of the Legislature and doorkeeper of the United 
States House of Representatives in Washington for two sessions. 
He was also sutler in the army. 

He was the first man who brought the news of the Indian 
outbreak in 1862 to Gov. Ramsey, and he did this on his own 
responsibility. He was with Major Galbraith, the Indian Agent, 
who had organized a company to go south, and was on his way 
to St. Paul, when they were overhauled by a man by the name 
of Dickerson, who notified them of the outbreak. Shelly imme- 
diately started for St. Paul, a distance of fifty miles, and after 
riding all night arrived in the morning and gave the Governor 
the news. He was in St. Paul on the 17th and the outbreak 
occurred on the i6th. 

a narrow escape — personally. 

On their way to New Ulm they were met by eighteen 
Indians, all painted, with rifles cocked, and seeing the situation 
they invited them into a saloon near by and treated them to native 
wine. This fortunate circumstance probably saved the lives of 
both Mr. Shelly and Galbraith, as it was no doubt the intention 
of the Indians to kill them at this time. 

Mr. Shelly is a large man and is a natural politician. He 
has made it a profession and is well posted in the tricks of both 
parties. He has a peculiar way of ingratiating himself into the 
good graces of those who *' run the machine," and has a remark- 
able faculty for worming out political secrets. He keeps posted 
on all matters pertaining to both part'^s, and makes this the 


business of his life. His portly appearance and self-assurance, 
with his positive declarations as to matters under discussion, give 
him considerable influence among the party leaders, and very few 
men have more political sagacity than Shelly, although they may 
have more money. He once owned a good many acres of land 
near Lake Como, and also a store on Jackson street, either of 
which would have made him well off, but the great depression 
which carried down a good many old citizens did not pass him 
by. He is just as much a landmark as the Merchants hotel; 
is social, friendly, kind-hearted, and when gone will leave a 
vacant place — and a big one. 


Dr. Mann was born in Philadelphia in 1816; first attended 
a country school at a place called " Down the Neck," then a 
school in Chester County, and then a few terms in a classical 
establishment in the county of Lancaster. After four years' devo- 
tion to the study of medicine and several years in the practice of 
the same, he took charge of a sanitarium, and then drifted to a 
town on Lake Superior where he spent a year, and following 
that came to this city in 1852. 

These wanderings were forced upon him on account of ill- 
health, and his coming to St. Paul was purely accidental. He 
left the mining regions of the south shore of the lake intending 
to return to Philadelphia, but when he reached a little village at 
the lower end of the lake, he chanced to see a large government 
map of Minnesota tacked up in the hotel, and it occurred to him 
that he might cross to the Mississippi and descend that river 
until he reached some public conveyance whereby he could get 
to Chicago, so that by these means he would then have made 
the circuit of the most western frontier country that would proba- 
bly be settled and civilized during his life-time. In talking the 
matter over a gentleman from Boston agreed to join him. A 
steamboat would bring them up to La Pointe, but from this place 
they must trust to Indian voyageurs with birch-bark canoes. 
The camp outfit was soon on hand except canoes, whicli could 
be bought at La Pointe. From there the voyageurs would agree 
to bring them only so far as Taylors P'alls, and from thence in 
to Stillwater ; down the St. Croix they ran great danger as 


neither of them knew how to manage a boat. One day's pad- 
dHng on the river, however, was sufficient for the Doctor, and he 
abandoned the canoe and took refuge on a raft, his Boston friend 
preferring to get through as best he could in his frail boat. The 
raft in time reached Stillwater and soon after the young traveler 
found himself in St. Paul. 


A little funny event led him to remain here. The day after 
landing in the city and while sitting in the hotel, a brisk-appear- 
ing man introduced himself and asked the Doctor if he had come 
intending to loan money, at the same time stating that money 
was five per cent. The Doctor laughed at that, saying, " that 
was nothing ; it was six per cent, in Philadelphia." 

" Oh, but this is five per cent, a month and good paper at 
that," replied the little man. 

Then the Doctor thought that if this person was not deranged 
the subject was worth looking into, so a few days after a small 
loan was made to a dry-goods man and another to a commission 
merchant, and both loans when due were promptly paid. In the 
meantime a little dickering took place in lots. The beginning 
was something like this : One morning the frisky little gentle- 
man above referred to, persuaded the Doctor to buy a lot. 
Towards night he appeared again and said : 

** See here ! I will give you one hundred dollars advance 
on that lot I sold you." 

The bargain was closed instantly. In a few days another 
transaction took place with the same gentleman, which was iden- 
tical with the previous transaction. This busy, wide-awake real 
estate man, who opened a new life to the subject of my sketch, 
was no other than Henry McKenty, a well-known citizen of the 
young town, whose friendship, when he fancied a man, knew no 


These little operations were followed up from time to time, 
and it was two years before the Doctor returned to Philadelphia. 
On arriving there he found that the city had lost its attractions 
and he soon returned to St. Paul, where the most of his time 


since has been occupied in the ordinary avocations of Hfe. He 
spent nearly two years in traveHng through Europe, and during 
his trip wrote some admirable letters of affairs in the old world ; 
and for four years resided temporarily in the District of Colum- 
bia. All that he has done in a public way was filling an appoint- 
ment as physician to the Winnebago Indians, until they were 
removed, and for four years serving as president of the Agri- 
cultural Society of the State. At one time he was County Physi- 
cian, but how he obtained the office he never inquired and never 
knew. He always v/ent when called upon, never presented any 
bill, and doubts if there were any provisons made for a physi- 
cian. How the Doctor's term ended and who succeeded him, 
he does not know. 


« • 

One thing he remembers as peculiar to the period when he 
was a boy and attended school, that nearly all the teachers 
employed with whom he came in contact, except with the 
Quakers, appeared to be broken-down Irish gentlemen ; good 
scholars; fine manners, but extremely harsh in school. One 
bright summer morning the teacher came in with a large black 
snake gripped by the neck, which had wound itself around his 
arm. " Here," says he to Mr. Lloyd, the proprietor, '* is a fine 
dry-land eel I have brought you." He Avas terribly shocked at 
his own ignorance when relieved of the snake and informed that 
eels were never found out of the water. 

Just before the writer came to the Territory, Dr. Mann mar- 
ried the widow of the late James M. Goodhue, first editor of the 
Pioneer, and some years later he visited Philadelphia for the pur- 
pose of educating the children of the dead journalist. To them 
he was a good and an affectionate father. His thoroughly hon- 
orable management of Mr. Goodhue's estate, turning over to the 
heirs every foot of ground left them at their father's death, pro- 
tecting it from grasping knav^es and contractors, is a record 
worthy to leave behind one when the law presents so many hooks 
to hang a plea upon and through this defect defenseless orphans 
are too often left at the mercy of designing men, but in this case 
an honest man protected the rights of the helpless. 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 343 

Dr. Mann is a gentleman of fine literary attainments, and arti- 
cles and letters he has written clearly attest this statement. He is 
tall ; usually walks a little bent with a swinging movement ; hair 
white; hands behind him; and is quietly spoken. He has suf- 
fered for years with a stomach difficulty and has rather with- 
drawn himself from society than encounter its exacting cares. 
The home circle is to him the pleasantest spot on earth. Though 
somewhat retiring in his nature yet when well known he is 
social, entertaining, kind-hearted, genial, and an excellent con- 


Born in 1826 in the town of Princess Ann, Maryland; at 
the age of eight years (1834) his mother moved to Philadelphia so 
that her son Albert might be sent to school. In 1 836 she again 
moved to Ithaca, New York, where Thomas Albert remained 
until 1844, when he came west. In 1840 he entered the office 
of Dr. William S. Pelton (a brother-in-law of Samuel J. Tilden,) 
as office boy, in order to study medicine, the doctor dying soon 
after. Albert tried the silk-worm culture but without success. 

On the 13th of June, 1852, he landed in St. Paul, and was 
immediately employed by Anson Northrop as steward for the 
St. Charles hotel, St. Anthony; and in 1854 went into the Capi- 
tol, St. Paul, as janitor, during J. Travis Rosser's secretaryship. 
He has filled many places of trust and responsibility ; was 
appointed through the influence of General Averill in 1872 a 
mail agent, filling that office ten years and has been latterly in 
the Custom House at Pembina and St. Vincent as Inspector. 

Jackson is a small, quick, bright colored man, and greatly 
interested in politics, being a Republican. He was formerly a 
barber in this city; removed to Duluth; obtained an office, and 
has ever since been " on the fly." 


If I remember correctly it was Jackson whom Rosser, a 
Virginian, then Secretary of the Territory, ill treated, and which 
called forth criticism on the part of the St. Paul Daily Times, 
then edited by the writer. R.osser resented the article and threat- 
ened to whip the editor, but I wrung my revenge on him by 


manufacturing a speech reported to have been given at a public .* 
dinner, which under the circumstances he was incapable of mak- 
ing, and he was so pleased with my ingenious method of ** whip- 
ping the devil around the stump," that he not only thanked me 
cordially for what I had done but ever after was my firm friend. 
Jackson now lives in Minneapolis. Rosser is dead. 


A correspondent writing from St. Paui in the fall of 1852^ 
says : 

** My ears at every turn are saluted with the everlasting din of land ! land ! 
land warrants ! town lots, etc., etc. I turn away sick and disgusted. Land at 
breakfast, land at dinner, land at supper, and until ii o'clock, land! then land in 
bed until their vocal organs are exhausted — then they dream and groan out — 'land!' 
Everything is artificial, floating — the excitement of trade, speculation and expecta- 
tion is now running high, and will, perhaps, for a year or so — but it must have 
a reaction. 

And the reaction did come in 1857, and land, and fortunes,, 
and credits, and almost everything else went out of sight, and 
men commenced over again their eventful lives, and land again 
gained its footing and prosperity again returned, and what was 
once wild speculation has become solid and firm. 


Young Morgan resembled Stephen A. Douglas only Morgan 
was smaller, but he had the same cast of countenance and the 
same peculiar form, and both were Democrats. " Little Jack," 
as he was familiarly called, was born in Ohio somewhere about 
the year 1 827 ; was a printer by trade and came to St. Paul in. 
1852. Here he took an active part in politics, especially those 
of the Democratic party, and on all occasions and everywhere 
** Little Jack" was the mouth-piece of the Democracy. He was 
at one period in his history editor of a paper in the Minnesota 
valley, and was chief clerk of the Senate at the time Gen. 
Gorman was Governor, I think in the year 1855. His head was 
large, his tone self-assuring, his air that of a man of importance,, 
while his small, chubby body resembled somewhat a banty 
rooster. He was connected with a good family in Ohio, one of 
his brothers having been speaker of the Ohio House of Repre- 
sentatives. William Noot, John P. Owens, Rill Shelly, Jack 


Morgan ! What memories these four names bring up, especially 
out of the dark, almost forgotten political past. Jack died some 
twenty-eight or twenty-nine years ago from an overdose of 
hilarity ; Owens passed away only a few months since ; Shelly 
and Noot still live to enjoy the fruits of a Democratic victory, 
while the wheel of Time continues its everlasting revolution. 
And so come the weeks, and the months, and the years, and the 
centuries, and with them the young, and the ardent, and the 
ambitious, and in the eternal march of time they will all be 
swept into the ocean of eternity, making way for others, who, in 
their turn will follow their footsteps. 


So says the old reaper Death as he industriously swings his 
scythe among the men and the women of over a quarter of a 
century ago. He makes no distinction — he overlooks no one — 
he is impartial in his dealings — he is unrelenting and exacting 
in his demands — he is unerring in his calls. Beauty, money, 
wealth, fame, poverty, distress, virtue, manhood, youth, woman- 
hood, all alike are laid low in the dust. So far as this world is 
concerned each have a common level, so far as the other world 
is concerned that depends upon the deeds done here ; but the 
universal fate of all is — Death. 

Mrs. Anna E. Ramsey died at her late elegant residence on 
South Exchange street, on the 29th of November, 1884, at 4 
o'clock p. M., aged fifty-nine years ; and thus another prominent 
and greatly esteemed member of the old settlers has passed 
behind the dark curtain which divides the future from the 
present, and 

*' Drawing the drapery of her couch about her, 
Has lain down to pleasant di-eams." 


Mr. Ames was born in Massachusetts in 181 2; his father 
manufactured the celebrated " Ames' shovel," while his elder 
brothers, Oakes and Oliver, were the originators and builders of 
the Union Pacific Railroad. He himself ran an iron business in 
New Jersey, and came to St. Paul in 1852. Here he engaged 
in the manufacturing interests and then having purchased some 


300 acres of land near St. Paul, he opened a stock farm. Kis 
property lay near the Harvester Works and is now very \aluable. 
The stock farm was an excellent one, because it had the finest 
herd of short-horned cattle in the country. 

He was one of the original proprietors of the town site of 
St. Peter ; president of the State Agricultural Society in 1 863 ; 
a member of the Board of Education in 1856-7 ; a member and 
one of the organizers of the Chamber of Commerce ; a corpora- 
tor and one of the first directors of the St. Paul & Pacific Rail- 
road Company ; president of the Home Insurance Company ; a 
stockholder in the St. Paul Gas and St. Paul Dispatcli com-* 
panics ; was a state delegate to the Cincinnati convention which 
nominated Greeley for President, and died in 1873 age sixty-one 

Mr. Ames was a good-sized man and as he grew older he 
became corpulent. He was a person of considerable force of 
character ; very affable ; an excellent entertainer, and his late 
residence which has recently been remodeled, stands upon a 
plateau which surrounds St. Paul and is nov.- the home of Uri 
Lamphrey, Esq. The first party I attended in the West was at 
the cheerful and pleasant home of Mr. Ames, thirt\"-two \-ears 

Had Mr. Ames lived and retained his property to the pres- 
ent time, it would have made him a man worth $500,000 inde- 
pendent of other resources. The original cost to him of the 
land he purchased at an early day, was about ;^ 15,000; profit 
^485,000, and yet at the time he bought his farm it was con- 
sidered away out of the city. He had several sons and left a 
sweet, pretty, pleasant widow. 

L V. D. heard. 

Thirty-two years ago the writer met Mr. Heard for the first 
time on the old steamer Nominee, and he (Heard) had then just 
reached the age of twenty-nine years. He is now at noon-day 
fifty. Born in New York State in 1834 he received an academ- 
ical education, studied law, was admitted to practice, and in 1852 
arrived at St. Paul, where he acted as clerk in the law offices 
of Wilkin & Van Patten, Ames & Van Etten and Rice, Hollins- 
head & Becker. His talents and ambition carried him into the 



City Attorneyship in 1856, and again in 1865, 1 863 and 1867, 
and he filled the position with great credit. In 1857 ^'^^ ^'^'^^ ap- 
pointed County Attorney, and was then elected to the same office 
for two years, and re-elected in 1859 and 1861, holding the place 
six years. In 1871 he was sent to the State Senate from Ramsey 
County; was also at one time a member of the Cullen Guard, 
Adjutant of mounted militia, member of Gen. Sibley's staff 
and Acting Judge Advocate of a military commission at the trial 
of the Sioux in 1862. He subsequently wrote a history of the 
Indian war which is probably more correct than any work on the 
same subject in circulation. 

[From the Pioneer of October 13, 1853.] 


"A little incident occurred on board of the Nominee on her passage up, 
which, as it tends to illustrate the old saying that we should be careful what 
we sav, we publish it for the benefit and edification of our readers. 

"Two young gentlemen were seated at the supper table briskly engaged 
with their knives and forks, when one of them overheard the name of the 
other brought in question by three gentlemen, who occupied seats nearly oppo- 
site. As a matter of course the curiosity of the one talked about led him to 
listen, and he had the satisfaction of learning the following very interesting 
facts concerning himself : 

"' He wore a white hat — was a small man, and said he was connected with 
Mr. Brown, at St. Paul.' 

" ' What was his name V interrogated another gentleman. 

" ' N .' 

" ' There is no such person in St. Paul,' said the third. ' Are you not 
mistaken in the name ^ ' 

" ' No ! He was introduced to me at Chicago. I should judge he was a 
sort of fast man — thought a good deal of a celebrated horse owned by a gentle- 
man there, and wished to go to the races which came off" that afternoon. He 
was introduced to me and I was informed that he was on board of the boat.' 

" ' Did he wear a mustache ? ' 

" ' I think not.' 

"'Had he whiskers .?' 

" ' I've no recollection that he had. He wore a white hat — was quite a 
small man.' 

"'Hal ha! ha!' laughed the third ; ' I guess he was an impostor. There 
is no such man in St. Paul; Mr. Brown was the firm when I left, and that's 
onlv a short time ago. You've been sold — ha! ha! ha ! ' 

'"Ha! ha! ha!' chimed in another. And thus the looking-glass was held 
up before the face of the unsuspecting stranger who had ample time, as Burns 
savs, ' to see himself as others see him.' The natural conclusion the trio 


came to was, that the small man, who wore a white hat, was an impostor. 
And with this impression they withdrew from the board evidently much pleased 
with their tea-table conversation. The young man who had been the subject 
of their remarks, also withdrew, and shortlv after meeting: one of the afore- 
said gentlemen, he accosted him as follows: 

" ' At the table I heard you mention the name of Mr. Newson whom vou 
took for an impostor. I am that gentleman ' — extending his hand ' and am 
happy to make your acquaintance.' The peculiar lights and shades which 
played over his countenance can be better imagined than described. He at 
once recognized his mistake, and made due apology for his remarks, which 
was received in the kindest manner, and during the remainder of the passage 
the two were on intimate and friendly terms. 

" Moral — Ahva^'s be careful what you say, remembering the old adage, 

that the d 1 is alwavs near when vou are talking about him. That man is 

an impostor.? Are you certain.? Be careful." 

The significance of this article, copied from the Pioneer of 
thirty-two years ago, lies in the fact that the young man who 
thought the present writer was an impostor then, is no less a 
personage than I. V. D. Heard, of the present day ; and I repro- 
duce the article because not only of the pleasant memories it 
evokes from the past, but because also it is the first article I wrote 
in the then Territory, now State of Minnesota. We were both 
young men then, but to-day we are traveling together down the 
hill of life, the one who wore the w^hite hat having a little the lead 
of the young chap, who, not knowing that I had been to St. Paul 
and had made arrangements with Mr. Brown to accept a position 
on the PioJieer and was then on my way back for that purpose, 
thought it could not be so, and hence the laugh, the joke, and the 
explanation. An acquaintance thus made, and a friendship thus 
formed, has remained uninterrupted for thirty-two years. 


Aside from his fine abilities as a lawyer, Mr. Heard possesses 
literary qualifications of a high order. He is quite a classical 
scholar, and his productions show thought and polish. As a 
speaker he is somewhat nervous, yet he is decided and his utter- 
ances carry conviction, and this same characteristic is shown in 
his efforts at the bar. He is earnest, sincere, honest ; and this 
gives him an enviable position in his profession. As a man he 
is warm-hearted, and has the delicate sympathy of a woman. 
He would if he could make the w^orld a great deal happier than it 


is. He is of medium height, somewhat sturdy in his build, pos- 
sessing a round, well-developed head, with a peculiar yet not un- 
pleasant twist of the mouth when he speaks ; is able, quiet, mod- 
est, industrious ; a respected and valuable citizen. 


Mr. Demules was born in Canada in 1832; married a sister 
of Vetal Guerin ; came to St. Paul in 1852; was a clerk for 
Louis M. Olivier for two years ; was also a clerk and agent for 
Louis Robert from i860 to 1862 ; in 1863 opened a grocery store 
corner Wabasha and Seventh streets ; was in business up to 1874 ; 
was a candidate for Treasurer of the City ; was candidate for 
Register of Deeds twice; was elected Alderman and School 
Inspector ; was the first president of the Union Francaise Society ; 
was first president of St. John the Baptist Society ; held various 
offices in these two orders ; was also promoter of these societies 
which formed the parish of St. Louis French ; held the office of 
United States Ganger six years, and was at the time of his death, 
in September, 1885, Deputy Collector of Customs. 


Four days before the outbreak of the Sioux Indians in 1862, 
Mr. Demules raised a company of forty-five men to enlist in the 
Federal army, and while on his way to St. Paul he heard of the 
outbreak and his men and others organized into a strong body 
at St. Peter and marched to the defense of the fort, and in making 
that defense three of his men were killed and three were wounded. 
After the fort had been saved, all the men enlisted in the Mounted 
Rangers to serve in the State, and Demules returned to take 
charge of Capt. Robert's business, including four stores. 

He purchased twenty-two acres in St. Paul in 1852, costing 
;^i,300; worth now $100,000; 100 feet on Seventh street, costing 
;$2,500; worth now ;^30,ooo; ten acres near the Manitoba round- 
house, for which he paid ;^i,ioo; worth $55,000; a lot near the 
Union Depot on Fourth street ; cost $900 ; worth $40,000 ; two 
lots on Norris street, cost $2,000 ; worth $8,000 ; ten acres on 
Lambert's Island, near Vadnais lake, for $250 ; worth $8,000, and 
lots of property in other places, all of which has greatly advanced 
in value, and among it were three lots v/here the German Catho- 


lie Church now stands, which cost him Sqod ; worth $15,000; 
sold them for ;$ 1,700, and ;^500 of the purchase money went 
towards the education of his children of whom he has had five, 
and of these one son has been a member of the Legislature. 

Mr. Demules was always a stirring, active citizen, never fail- 
ing to advance the interests of St. Paul. He was not tall, nor 
fat, and yet possessed a physical organization which was capable 
of great endurance. He had a high head, almost completely 
bald, resembling somewhat the '' top-knot " worn by the late 
Horace Greeley. He was only a remnant left of that gallant 
band of Frenchmen who were the early pioneers of our city and 
to whose memories we turn with the kindest regard, for in my 
investigations of history I find that they were a bold, brave, hardy» 
honest class of men, who committed no deeds of violence of 
which history need be ashamed. 


Born in Philadelphia in 1831 ; removed to Kentucky when 
a mere lad ; then returned to the Quaker City ; received an aca- 
demical education ; father enlisted during the Mexican war and 
died in Mexico, when young Sweeney entered a silk house at 
the age of seventeen years and remained in it until he was twenty- 
one years old ; came to St. Paul in 1852 ; was a partner of W. S. 
Potts in the drug business ; five years later he purchased the 
interests of Messrs. Delano, and has continued in the business 
ever since. For years he has been a Commissioner of the State 


Mr. Schurmeier was born in Germany in 1828, and in 1848 
he and his brother were engaged in making wagons in St. Louis. 
He same to St. Paul in 1852 and started in business in a small 
way, which has now grown to large proportions. His shops on 
Rosabel street, near Seventh, are very extensive, his machinery 
being driven by a fifty-horse steam engine, and he employs over 
fifty men. The property he purchased when he first came to St. 
Paul has become very valuable, and is increasing in value every 
day. During all these long years, from I052 up to 1884, ]\Ir. 
Schurmeier has never faltered or stopped, and his continued care- 


ful and prudent method of transacting business has made him a 
rich man. 

During the excitement growing out of the discovery of gold 
at VermiUion Lake in 1864-5, the writer organized a company 
to go there and prospect for the precious metal, and although 
eminent assayers and chemists in New York and Boston reported 
;$30 and $4.0 of gold to the ton of the rock found there, yet the 
excitement died out and the matter was abandoned. Before start- 
ing on my expedition I ordered a large car twenty feet long to 
be built, and which was subsequently used as a dining room, and 
as it was winter when I commenced my journey, this car was 
put upon runners and served admirably the object for which it 
was intended. It was built by Mr. Schurmeier and he can now 
turn back to the pages of history and claim the honor of having 
built the first car that rolled on the shores of Lake Vermillion, 
although since then large bodies of iron have induced capitalists 
to construct tracks on which regular trains now pass to the lake 
covering most of the identical ground over which " Newson's 
Gold Car " rumbled nineteen years ago ! Teinpora mutantur; 
Times have changed, but I am quite willing to abide the result. 


Li the year 1852 Mr. Schurmeier purchased a lot on the 
corner of Seventh and Rosabel streets, for which he paid $200 ; 
worth now ;^28,ooo, and upon this lot he erected a three-story 
brick building costing ^15,000, and for which he receives $300 
per month in rents; then in 1882 he bought the lot on which the 
Minnesota House stands on Rosabel street, next to the first or 
corner lot, for which he paid ;^i 1,000 ; worth ^15,000; about 
twenty-five years ago he purchased 100 feet on Rosabel street 
where his carriage factory now stands, and paid ;^ 1,400; worth 
now ;$20,ooo; in 1872 he bought half of a lot on the other cor- 
ner of Rosabel and Seventh streets and paid $4,500; v/orth now 
;^i 5,000; owns half a block on Rosabel and Broadway; costs 
;^6,ooo ; worth $40,000 ; a lot near Union Depot, corner Rosabel 
and Third; cost in 1866 $1,200; worth $25,000; two lots on 
Broadway and Ninth, cost in 1870 $1,900; worth $12,000; an- 
other lot on Rosabel street, where he lives ; cost in 1865 $1,500; 
worth $15,000; two lots on Jackson street, one of which cost in 


i860 ^1,500, the other in 1863 i^4)500; worth now ;$ 26,000 ; a 
lot on Third street, in i860 for ;$5,500 ; worth $35,000. 

When Mr. Schurmeier bought his property on Rosabel 
street it was covered with hazel brush and trees, and was the 
sleeping place of the Indians, and the little shop where was built 
my ** Gold Car" in 1865, has been remodeled and is now stocked 
with a large assortment of goods. 

Mr. Schurmeier is a quiet, unostentatious man ; very delib- 
erate in his movements, yet far-seeing and sagacious in material 
interests. Whatever money he makes in his business he puts 
into real estate, and gels about as much comfort out of life as 
almost any man I know. 


Who is that man with long hair and a slouch hat, and a 
swaggering motion, and who moves his head rapidly from one 
side to another and thrusts his hands deep down into the pockets 
of his pants ? That is A. T. C. Pierson, the great Mason, who 
has climbed the Morgan ladder to the top round and is looking 
about to see if he can't grapple with the stars and steal into the 
other world and establish a higher order of Masonry there. He 
is as young in feeling and in action as a boy of sixteen, and yet 
he makes a splendid picture of a grand old patriarch as he really 
is, just stepping upon the last step which leads to three score and 
ten. His flowing locks, his elastic step, his rapid movements, 
his quick brain, his boyish yet venerable appearance, all make 
him a paradoxism — a sort of contradiction, and yet as a whole 
he is complete and individualized into an exception to a general 
rule ; in a word, he is a character ! There are very few if an\' 
men in the country better posted on Masonry than Pierson, as 
he has made it a life study and has written several books on 
the subject, and if Masonry is as grand and sublime as its advo- 
cates claim it is, Mr. Pierson ought to be good enough to go to 
heaven on a sunbeam; if he isn't he's to blame, not Masonry. 

He was born in New Jersey in 181 5, in the old homestead 
which has been in possession of the family for two hundred 
years. In 18 19 he removed to Cincnmati ; returned to New Jer- 
sey in 1822; went to New York in 1827; graduated from Bar- 
clay Street Medical College that year ; came to Minnesota in 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 353 

the employ of the Indian Department in 1850, and in 1852 
became a permanent resident of St. Paul. He was at one time 
with the Winnebago Indians, then with the Chippewas, and next 
ivith the Sioux. He became chief draughtsman in the Surveyor 
General's office some twelve years ago, and through various 
Republican administrations has continued in this position up to 
a short time since. Mr. Pierson is a fine-looking man and his 
portrait presents a striking appearance. He is social in his 
nature and outwardly is all one needs to ask for when dealing 
^' on the square." 


Mr. Lunkenheimer was born in Germany on the Rhine in 
1 8 19; learned the trade of a carpenter; emigrated to America 
in 1842; was nine years in Wisconsin engaged in farming; 
came to St. Paul in 1852 ; worked at his trade for one year, then 
started the Darmstaeter Hoff — a German boarding house. In 
1857 he was burned out, and in i860 built what is now called 
the American House, corner of Fourth and Wabasha streets, 
and which was subsequently purchased by Mr. Pottgeiser. After 
this he started a boarding house on Wabasha street. He is now 
a hale old gentleman, still living in the city. 


Was born in Wisconsin in 1843; came to St. Paul in 1852 
when he was nine years old, and here he received his education; 
clerked for his father, who kept an old-fashioned German inn, or 
hotel, on the corner of Fourth and Wabasha streets, up to the 
year i860, when, for seven years young Lunkenheimer devoted 
his time to the liquor and cigar trade, and for five years ran a 
livery stable. Was a member oi the Legislature in 1875-6; 
was Major of the First Regiment of the National Guards; was 
a member of the fire department eighteen years, and foreman 
twelve. He then went out of the livery business and engaged 
again in the sale of liquor and cigars. He took part in the 
Indian war of 1862, and was in the battle of Birch Coolie. 
Married in 1870 to Miss Gertrude Smith, and has a family of 
three children, and is now Deputy Sheriff under Richter. 

John is a quiet man and has considerable influence with his 
German neighbors. I remember the old hotel — a perfect coun- 



terpart of many found in Europe — which formerly stood on the 
corner of Fourth and Wabasha streets, but many of the old set- 
tlers who passed its threshold have gone to rest; the old inn has 
passed into history ; the old landmarks are nearly obliterated ; 
the old ways and the old times are giving place to new faces, 
new things, new men ; and though we try to check the flying 
hours, they still glide on, while — 

"Time, Time, 
The tomb-builder, holds his fierce career, 
Dark, stern, all pitiless, and pauses not 
Amid the mighty wrecks that strew his path." 


All the old citizens who knew Mr. Best, the stone con- 
tractor, will not forget his partner, the subject of this sketch, who 
was born in England in 1820, and who, after learning his trade 
as a stone-cutter, came to America in 1845 and worked for a 
while on the Vermont Central and the New Albany and Salem 
railways ; came to St. Paul in 1852, and two years after assisted 
in the stone work of a bridge at the Falls ; then he followed con- 
tracting with his partner, Mr. Best, in this city until 1868, and 
then aided in the construction of the Custom House. He and 
Mr. Best continued business up to 1874, when, in consequence of 
ill health Mr. Best retired and soon after died. Mr. M. was sub- 
sequently City Inspector and had the supervision of the stone 
work of the new Capitol. He is a hard-working, industrious,, 
careful, honest man. 


Mr. Schliek was born in Germany in 181 8, where he learned 
the trade of a shoemaker and came to this country in 1845. He 
landed at New Orleans and went to St. Louis where he remained 
three years. He then removed to Milwaukee, and there worked 
for three dollars per week, and at the expiration of five years 
had laid by ;^700 with which to commence business at Madison, 
which place he left soon after for St. Paul, where he arrived in 
1852 with three dollars in his pocket and his wife with five. He 
commenced business in the building which at present stands on 
the corner of Wabasha and Third streets but which then occu- 
pied the corner now devoted to the Pioneer Press office. It was 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 855 

subsequently moved to where it now stands. In 1877 the firm 
was organized as SchHek & Company, the company consisting 
of his two sons, and a fine store was opened on Third street and 
has ever since done a good trade. He married a Miss EHzabeth 
Kersting in Milwaukee, in 1850, and left when he died, three 
children, Edward, Charles and Augustus, all young men. of fine 
promise and good business tact. His wife preceded him in her 
death only a short time, and Edward, his oldest son, died since 
the above was written, in September, 1885. 


Among Mr. Schliek's early purchases were three lots in 
Nicollet County for which he gave three pairs of boots ; property 
now valued at about ^3,500 ; one lot in Mankato City, cost $2^ ; 
worth $700; 360 acres on the Superior road, cost ^150; worth 
several thousands ; 16 lots in Le Sueur County, cost $250; worth 
;^2,ooo; lot near the German Catholic Church, St. Paul, for 
which he paid $1,800; sold for $7,500; worth $10,000; lot on 
Cedar street, near where the old Episcopal Church stood, cost 
$2C0; worth $15,000; lot on Oakes street, cost $2,800; sold for 
$6,000; worth $8,000; lot in the Sixth ward, cost $500; worth 
$6,000; three acres near the Home for the Homeless, cost $300 ; 
worth $66,000 ; the lot corner of Fourth and Wabasha streets, 
cost $2,800 fourteen years ago ; worth $22,000 now. Beside this 
he left between $60,000 and $70,000 in personal property, so that 
his estate when he died footed up to nearly $200,000, all 
accumulated by strict attention to business. 


Mr. Schliek will always be remembered by the old settlers 
as one of the most polite men in the city. He was invariably in 
good humor, very affable, and made a great run on the " Burt 
shoe," and on this he built up a large trade. He started his 
boys in business on Third street, and then fell back into his little 
old store — now remodeled by his son — on the corner of Wabasha 
and Eourth streets, where he spent the remainder of his business 
days. He was a well-proportioned man, quick in his movements, 
pleasant in his ways, and especially noted for the manner in 
which he addressed his friends on the street, just in front of 


his store, by a shake of the hand, a nod of the head, and that 
ever-to-be-remembered cluck of the mouth. He was Democratic 
in his feehngs — having no snobism about him — and often aj:)- 
peared on his favorite corner with a pair of spectacles on his 
head, (no hat,) an apron around his waist, bowing and shaking 
hands with all he met, never failing to greet them with that 
peculiar noise he made with the tongue. He gave quite liberally 
to the German Church and to other charitable objects, and lived 
and died a good man, at the age of sixty-four years. I never 
turn even now that identical corner without expecting to see that 
identical old gentleman greet me in his peculiar way, for he was 
as much of a landmark in the past as the building itself is 

** Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble, 
From the cradle to the grave." 

And such is life ! But it is good to reflect that it leaves no 



Capt. O'Gorman was born in Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1816; 
emigrated to Boston in 1834; removed to Chicago in 1848; and 
came to St. Paul in 1852; died in 1872, aged fifty-six years. 
He held the position at one time in this city of Captain of 
Police, then Chief of Police, then City Assessor for two years, 
Inspector of State Prison, Bridge Receiver for many years, and 
Captain of a military company called the Shields Guards. 

The Captain purchased a lot on the corner of Ninth and St. 
Peter streets in the }'ear 1852, for which he paid $700. It was 
sold for ^10,000, and is now worth ;^ 16,000; he purchased also 
some lots out on the Fort road for^which he paid about ^lOO; 
worth now $8,000. On his city lot on St. Peter street, he erected 
a small brick building in which he reared eight children, six of 
whom are boys and two are girls — all living. I think he was 
a stone-cutter by trade, but of late years he was prevented from 
working at it for the want of good health. 


Capt. O'Gorman was a slender man, very quietly spoken 
and very pleasant in his manners. I remember him very well. 

OF ST. PAUL, MINN. ' 357 

Sergeant William O'Gorman, his son, was in my commissary 
department for several years. One of the boys was in Gen. 
Sibley's office during the war ; another became a priest ; another 
was with Pat Kelly, and indeed the boys have all done well, 
thanks to the good example set them by their excellent father, 
of whom I have many pleasant memories. 


The old adage that it takes ** nine tailors to make a man," 
is not true in the case of Mr. Mathes, who was a man before he 
was a tailor and has continued so ever since, although he was 
among the very first who handled a pair of shears in St. Paul, 
w^here he arrived in the year 1852. For six years he carried on 
his business on Third street, when he gave it up and became the 
cutter for Mr. Campbell, with whom he continued for five }-ears, 
and then was connected with Griswold & Tenney (both dead,) 
and in 1870 opened his present extensive trade on Jackson street, 
where he and his partners are doing a good business. He is a 
bustling, active business man, and has seen many and great 
changes since he came to St. Paul, now thirty-three years ago. 


Mr. O'Brien was born in Michigan in 1845 \ "^^as educated 
in the common schools of that place and came to St. Paul in 
1852. In 1862 he enlisted in Company H, Tenth Regiment, and 
served during the war. He w^as w^ounded at the battle of Nash- 
ville, December 16, 1864, and in 1865 was discharged. Four 
years after returning to St. Paul he was appointed deputy clerk 
of the District Court, which position he held for upwards of 
fifteen years. He then engaged in the collection of accounts, 
and finally built himself and family a home, but only a short 
time ago (in 1884,) it was burned down, and nearly everything he 
had went up in smoke. Fortunately the Democratic party was 
looking about for a formidable candidate for County Auditor, and 
they struck " Jimmy," and putting him on to the track he ran like 
a wild deer and came out of the contest with upwards of 3,000 
majority. It was a clear case of good luck, but it is just as grati- 
fying and a little more pleasing to Mr. O'Brien than if the elec- 
tion had been achieved by many months of planning and figuring. 


Mr. O'Brien is a small, wiry man; very active; hopeful; 
industrious ; and just now very grateful. He is an accommo- 
dating gentleman, honest, and no doubt will make a good and pop- 
ular county officer. He is a young old settler, that is, he is only 
thirty-nine years of age and yet he has been in St. Paul thirty- 
two years, — having come here when he was only seven years 
old, and thus having the advantage of us veterans he ought to 
learn from experience how to accumulate sufficient money to 
take care of his family and himself in his old age. " Jimmy," 
mark those wrecks ! — steer your ship into a safe harbor ! Go 
slow ! 


Judge O'Gorman is a son of Capt. John O'Gorman (now 
dead,) and was born in Boston in 1847, where he received a com- 
mon school education. He came to this city with his parents in 
1852. I remember him as a quiet, pleasant young man and an 
excellent penman. He removed to St. Louis in 1863 and was 
employed as a clerk in an abstract office, and during this time he 
attended the St. Louis Law School and graduated in the senior 
class of 1872. Returning to St. Paul that year he engaged in 
the practice of his profession and continued so up to 1877, when 
he served as Judge of Probate of Ramsey County, to which he 
was elected with considerable unanimity and which he filled with 
very general acceptability. In 1882 he ran for Sheriff of Ram- 
sey County, and after a legal contest with Mr. Richter as to who 
received the greatest number of votes, he was declared elected, 
and has held the office for two years. 

Mr. O'Gorman is a gentleman of medium size, with a round 
face, well-developed physical organization and very undemon- 
strative. He is quite even in his temperament, gentlemanly in 
his manners and destitute of ostentation. He married Ellen M. 
Dicks, of St. Louis, in 1868. 


This is another son of the late Capt. John O'Gorman, and 
was born in Boston in 1845. He came to St. Paul in 1852 and 
here he received his education. In 1862 he enlisted in Company 
K, Tenth Regiment, but was on detail dut}' in the commissary 

OF ST. PA UL, 3nNN. 359 

department under Capt. Newson for a year or so, and then joined 
his regiment in the Sixteenth Army Corps under Gen. A. J. 
Smith. He served three years in the army, and after being hon- 
orably discharged, accompanied a party to Vermihion lake in 
search of gold, and subsequently became a clerk in the post 
office for one year ; was three years in the real estate business in 
St. Louis; returned to St. Paul; clerked for different firms some 
ten years ; then engaged in the cigar and tobacco business for 
himself, and is now secretary of the Board of Fire Commissioners. 
** Sergeant Billy," as we used to call him, is a little differ- 
ent in general make-up to his brother Henry. He is a stirring 
man, full of vigor and manhood, and yet all this energy does 
but little good towards bringing him a fortune however much 
he may deserve it. He is honest, capable and trustworthy, but 
.like many others was no doubt born under an unlucky star, yet 
he is a philosopher and proposes to trudge on to the end. He 
has this advantage, he is in the prime of manhood and has thirty- 
two years of solid experience in the ups and downs of western 
life, so he is much better prepared for the ills incident to living 
than the " old codgers " who have nothing to hope for but — 
Death ! — " Sergeant Billy," move to the front ! 


Tyson was pretty generally known by all the old settlers. 
In his way he was a character ; tall, well-proportioned, active, 
loud-speaking, he impressed a stranger with his importance, and 
yet he was a man more of bustle than merit. He was born about 
1824 ; came to St. Paul in 1852 ; kept a grocery store with John 
Cathcart, backed by Jus. Ramsey, (both now dead,) on the corner 
of Fourth and Robert streets. 

He ran for County Treasurer, and furnished one of his 
political friends a barrel of whisky with which to advance his 
■cause, when late in the afternoon of the day of election he went 
around to see how matters were getting along, and discovered 
his friend very tired and treating his political enemies to copious 
draughts of his own whisky. He made this discovery only in 
time to save a few drinks, and Nat was bursting mad, but that 
did not save him — he lost the office he wanted, also a barrel of 
whisky, and the good-will of his generous friend. Later along 


he ran a grocery store on Third street and left the city some 
time either in the year 1858 or 1859 and has dropped out of sight 
and almost out of memory. 


Was born in Missouri in 1831 ; learned the trade of an 
engineer; came to St. Paul in 1852 ; was engaged as an engin- 
eer on the river up to 1875, when he was appointed engineer of 
the fire steamer Hope, No. 3, which position he held with credit 
to himself and to the department for many years. Married 
Miss Denoyer in 1839. Eight children made the family circle,. 
one of whom is dead. Mr. Duion is the son of one of the old- 
est French settlers, of whom I have made mention, and is a gen- 
tleman esteemed for his ability as an engineer and for his many 
good qualities. 


No more ardent, no more enthusiastic or warmer friend St.. 
Paul ever had, than Charles Fillmore, the half-brother of Presi- 
dent Fillmore, both dead, whom I met about this time. He lived 
next to Gov. Ramsey's, on Walnut street, and the house modified 
still stands on a bluff, while the old residence of the Governor 
was bought, removed, and is now occupied by Horace Bigelow,. 
Esq. A stately mansion adorns the spot of Gov. Ramsey's old 
home. Fillmore is dead; Mrs. Ramsey is dead; Ramsey lives. 
Fillmore's old house is still up on the bank ; Ramsey's is down 
on the level with modern civilization. 

Mr. Fillmore was an active, stirring man, of medium size,, 
full of enthusiasm for the growth of the city, and indeed I may 
say he was the first person to induce the writer to stay in St. 
Paul. He was born in New York about 1820; came to St. Paul 
in 1852; died in 1854, aged thirty-four years. 

A peculiar accident happened at his funeral which for the- 
time being shocked the community. While the hearse was pass- 
ing along Fort street, now West Seventh, and when ascending a 
small hill, the back door of the vehicle was burst open and the 
coffin fell to the ground, or partially so, and of course the event 
threw a gloom over everybody, but it was soon replaced without 
harm, and the procession moved on. Mr. l-^illmore's death. 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 361 

was greatly regretted, for he was a man of fine social and busi- 
ness qualities and an energetic promoter of the city's interests. 


Right Reverend, or Bishop John Ireland, D.D., was born in 
Ireland in 1838; came to America with his parents in 1849, set- 
tling at Chicago, where he attended school at the academy of 
"Saint Mary's of the Lake;" located at St. Paul in 1852, and 
has since then resided in this city, except when in Europe. In 
company with the now venerable Father Ravoux and Rev. 
Thomas O. Gorman, of Rochester, Minn., John Ireland left for 
France in the year 1853 to complete his theological studies; 
passed four years of a preparatory course at Meximeux, Ain, and 
another four years with the Marist Fathers of Hyeres, Var., and 
here he finished his education; returned to St. Paul in 1861 and 
was ordained priest by Bishop Grace on December 21 of that 
year; in 1862 was commissioned Chaplain of the Fifth Minnesota 
Regiment and remained in service a year, tendering his resigna- 
tion only on account of ill-health ; became the pastor of the 
Cathedral parish, and on the 12th of February, 1875, was 
appointed by the Pope Bishop of Maronea, in partibiis infideliiiu^ 
and Vicar Apostolic of Nebraska. This appointment was subse- 
quently recalled, and he became the coadjutor of Rt. Rev. Bishop 
Grace, of St. Paul, and was consecrated Bishop December 21, 
1875. Bishop Grace resigned July 31, 1884; Bishop Ireland 

succeeded him. 

HIS characteristics. 

No man in the Northwest has filled up the measure of his 
usefulness and of his life-work thus far, so completely and so 
grandly, as Bishop Ireland. No name in history will glow with 
greater halo and greater warmth for good acts conceived, for 
good acts performed, for good and noble acts reiterated again 
and again, than that of him, who, coming himself from the ranks 
of the poor and the lowly, has ever sought to elevate his own 
nationality, and in that act to elevate the world at large. A 
mere boy when ordained a priest (twenty-three years of age,) he 
stepped boldly into the arena of life, and dealing with the mate- 
rial as well as the spiritual elements of our existence, reached 
down into the great heart of humanity and touching the secret 


spring of magnetic attraction hidden there, induced thousands to 
chmb upward on to the ladder of respectabiHty and manhood, 
and therein he has healed many a broken heart and has dried 
many a sorrowing tear. Like his great Master before him, he 
goes among publicans and sinners, not among the righteous ; 
like his Master before him, he is imbued with love and humility, 
and in seeking the purification of the inner man he seeks to ele- 
vate the material or the outer man ; like his Master before him, 
he assimilates with the masses and sympathizes with them in 
their great burdens of woe ; points out the path which tends to 
a better life ; leads the way to temperance, prosperity and happi- 
ness ; picks up the fallen ; encourages the weak ; guides the 
footsteps of the faltering. No man in this great western country 
has done so much towards the elevation of the Irish race, as has 
Bishop Ireland; no man living has so strong a hold upon his 
people and their affections, as has Bishop Ireland, and no living 
Bishop of any denomination has done more towards the advance- 
ment of the whole human family (in advancing his own people,) 
than has this heroic follower of the meek and lowly Jesus. I 
care not what church a man may belong to, or what creed he 
may embrace, for **as ye sow so shall ye reap," and Bishop Ire- 
land's good deeds will carry him to a better land without a 
church and without a creed, if there is a just God. 


Over a quarter of a century ago the men who clamored the 
loudest, fought the f ercest at elections and were the first to find 
their way to the police court, were the Irish citizens of this cit}-. 
They were then " the hewers of wood and the drawers of water ; " 
the dray horses of society. And yet it was not the Irish but the 
whisky in the Irish. Where are the Irish to-day ? Among the 
most wealthy, the most honored, and the most respected of 
people. How came they so ? Largely through the influence 
and the persistent efforts of Bishop Ireland. I am writing history, 
not romance ; facts, not fiction, and am seeking to show what 
has been accomplished through the influence of one man, and 
yet this influence has not been given exclusively for his own 
people but for the benefit of all classes of citizens, for Bishop 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 303 

Ireland will unite cheerfully with ministers of any denomination 
to effect a lasting public good. 


Among the very first to make the colonization scheme in 
this State, so far as the Irish are concerned, practical, was by 
Bishop Ireland, and by that intelligent and noble old Irish gentle- 
man, Dillon O'Brien, father of our former Mayor. Through 
their efforts seven settlements of Irish have been planted upon 
our soil and they are all prospering. Gen. Shields and Capt. Mc- 
Grorty years ago started the movement, but it was left for Bishop 
Ireland and his earnest co-laborer, to carry to a successful issue 
a very important element in the future advancement of the Irish 
race in this country. This, with his consistent and persistent 
efforts in favor of temperance, have won for him the highest love 
and the highest reverence from his own people, and the highest 
regard and the highest respect from a large class of American 
men and women who differ with him in his theological views, 
but who know him to be — 

"A man for all of that." 

Bishop Ireland is a tall, slender, intellectual-looking gentle- 
man, with sharp features and with a bright, expressive face. He 
usually wears a long frock coat and a slouch hat, walks quickly, 
flings his right arm out at his side, throws the head up, and 
moves rapidly over the pavement, scarcely ever stopping to 
notice anything or anybody on the way, or to even greet an 
acquaintance. He gives one the appearance of a stirring, active 
business man, and yet back of all this is intellect. As a public 
speaker he is clear, earnest, concise, logical, argumentative and 
eloquent. As a bishop and a priest, while he is devoted to the 
church yet he is tolerant, fair and dignified. As a citizen he is 
public-spirited and wide-awake to the interests of his adopted 
city. As a man, possessing all the essential elements of true 
manhood, I know no peer to Bishop Ireland. 


A tall, quite slender, very active man, with white hair and a 
quick step, whose every motion is energy, mark the peculiar char- 


acteristics of the father of one of the most able Cathoh'c bishops 
in the United States. The subject of my sketch was born in Ireland 
in 1805; came to America in 1849; settled in Burlington, Vt., 
and from thence went to Chicago in 1850; located in St. Paul 
in 185:^; here he followed his trade, that of a carpenter, and 
built the old residence of H. M. Rice, now pulled down, and 
many other dwellings; was appointed Deput}- Sheriff under 
O'Gorman, and though a man rising 80 years of age, yet he is as 
active and as young appearing as a person of 50. He is especi- 
ally noted for the manner in which he walks, throwing the right 
foot forward and moving rapidly onward sidewise. He talks 
quickly, acts quickly, moves quickly, and in fact is lightning on 
wheels ! And yet he has a kind, benevolent face, a pleasant way, 
and is a good man. 


Born September 26, 1825, in the city of Brunswick, Ger- 
many; received a collegiate education; studied theology (Protest- 
ant) at the University of Goettingen in i846-'49 ; when yet a stu- 
dent took part in the revolutionary fight at Dresden, Saxony, in 
May, 1849; taken prisoner ; sentenced to death ; sentence com- 
muted to ten years' imprisonment; pardoned in June, 1852; of 
his own free will emigrated to the United States ; came to St. 
Paul in November, 1852 ; got employment with the firm of Renz 
& Karcher, pioneer confectionery and fancy-goods store ; remained 
in that establishment up to 1854; settled on a claim in Carver 
County in December of that year ; elected as an Olmsted Demo- 
crat to the House of the Territorial Legislature in 1855 ; was 
counted out, because as alleged at the time. Carver County was 
not legally organized ; was writing editor of the first Republican 
German paper of Minnesota, the Minnesota Deutsche Zeitiing, in 
1855 ; has continued in editorial work from that time to this, for 
different German papers in St. Paul, Chaska and New Ulm ; was 
Emigration Commissioner to Germany from Minnesota from 
March, 1864, to March, 1871 ; elected member of the Board of 
Education in 1872; married in 1861 to the daughter of the late 
J. B. Sommer, jeweler and watchmaker, formerly of St. Paul, 
now of Springfield, 111. 


He made a very eloquent speech at the dedication of the 
German AthencTeum, November ii, 1859, being the centennial of 
Schiller's birthday; at the dedication of the first banner of the 
St. Paul Tiirnverein, May 26, 1 860 ; at the reception of the Ger- 
man poet, Friederich von Bodenstedt ; at the reception of Mr. 
Villard's guests ; has erected three cottage residences for him- 
self in St. Paul, respectively in the years 1867, 1871, 1880; is at 
present chief writing editor of the Daily Volkszeitiing of this city. 


Very few persons who casually observe a tall gentleman 
upon our streets, with light complexion and spectacles, and who 
usually moves along rapidly as though burdened with great 
business cares, would suppose that this gentleman was Mr. 
Wolff, the subject of my sketch, who was once a fighter in the 
revolutionary cause of Germany, then a prisoner, then sentenced 
to death, and then released, and is now a quiet, sedate, peaceful 
citizen of St. Paul. Mr. Wolff has been in the editorial harness 
for thirty years, and he is not only a pungent, strong writer, but 
an eloquent speaker. He is better known to the German ele- 
ment of our population than to that of the American, for he is 
a modest, retiring gentleman, and devotes a large part of his 
time to his pen. He is esteemed for his abilities and respected 
for his manhood. 


In early days Appollo Hall, situated near where Lindeke's 
dry-goods store now is on Third street close to Wabasha, was 
the great rendezvous for almost ev^erybody, for those who drank 
and for those who didn't drink, but who were obliged to go there 
to find their friends, dizzy or sober, and so it became the most 
popular place in the city. It was kept as a saloon and a restau- 
rant, and was presided over by Charles Rauch and his buxom, 
pleasant wif^. Here is where many social parties met and gave 
utterance to that popular song : 

"Come, landlord, fill the flowing bowl until it does run over; 

Come, landlord, fill the flowing bowl until it does run over — 

For to-night we'll merry, merry be. 

For to-night we'll merry, merry be, 

For to-night we'll merry, merry be, 

And to-morrow we'll get sober." 


But many of those who drank there didn't get sober for a 
week, and some of them went down to the grave drunk, singing 
their favorite song and probably woke up on the other side still 
humming — 

"Come, landlord, fill the flowing bowl until it does run over." 

In the city, and for many years was immensely popular, for 
the food was good, the liquors were pronounced excellent b}- 
those who were judges, while Ranch and his wife were the per- 
sonification of geniality and good nature. He was a sort of 
burly-headed man, with black, curly hair, the possessor of a red 
round face, took snuff, winked his eyes, talked in broken Eng- 
lish, walked with a dignified air and was very fond of a good 
joke, just the man to please the masses, while she was a tidy, 
large, good-looking woman, jolly, winsome, and both commanded 
the utmost respect. 


One New Year's day a great free spread was made for the 
guests of the house and for others who might come in, and 
among the eatables on the table was a large ham. This ham 
was made of wood and the skin of a regular ham was drawn 
over it and the outside was beautifully decorated, and it was 
arranged that a young man who made great pretensions as a 
carver should dish it out ; so Mr. Ranch rigged him up with an 
apron, a jaunty cap, and a sharp knife and fork, and while some 
fifty hungry mouths were arranged around the table to receive a 
precious morsel of the inviting meat, the warrior of the knife 
commenced his battle. He tugged, he sweated, he swore, he 
Sfrew red in the face. Of course it was a ham — he knew a ham 

when he saw it, but it was the d est, toughest hog he had 

ever struck. "Give it up? Never!" So while the crowd 
waited, and the knowing ones winked and smiled, the young man 
toiled over his task until he had succeeded in j^ettin^' a small 
portion of the skin off, when he grew pale, dropped his knife 
and fork, tore off his apron, dashed down his cap, gave one 
piercing look at the mutilated meat and exclaimed — " All bone, 
by G — d ! " and dashed out of the door. Mrs. Ranch had effected 


her purpose, for the young man never came back again, but some 
real, genuine hams were brought on, and the New Year was 
toasted gayly away into the wee hours of the morning. 


Mr. Ranch was born in Germany in i8i2; learned the 
trade of a tailor ; came to America in 1849 and opened a cloth- 
ing establishment in New York, where he remained two years; 
was burned out ; lost everything ; carried on a clothing estab- 
lishment at Lafayette, Ind.; was burned out there and saved only 
$200 out of ^8,000; came to St. Paul in 1852 and opened a 
saloon and restaurant, where he remained some six years and 
cleared 1^45,000; invested the amount in what is now known as 
Banholzer's brewery ; lost nearly all ; started again in his restau- 
rant in the old place; ran it seven years; sold out and bought 
real estate — a lot for ^600; sold for ;^i,200; worth $25,000; lots 
on St. Anthony hill for which he paid $150; worth ;^2,ooo and 
$3,000; paid $400 for three lots in Leech's addition; worth 
$6,000; gave $250 for eight acres on Dayton's bluff; worth 
$15,000. Just before he died he opened a grocery store on the 
corner of Forbes and Fort streets. In 1856 he was a member 
of the City Council, and in 1858 member of the House of Rep- 


Just in the midst of a prosperous beer brewing business 
after he left the restaurant, one of his workmen accidentally fell 
into a vat, and when taken out he was dead and the flesh peeled 
from his body, and notwithstanding Ranch drew off his beer and 
let it run into the Mississippi river, yet the prejudice was so 
great on the part of the people, that his sale of beer came to a 
positive stop, and his loss was immense, reaching as high as 
$30,000. Who will deny the power of luck, bad, good or indif- 
ferent in a man's life ? Twice burned out and lost everything ; 
made $45,000; it slipped out of his hands because one of his 
workmen fell into a vat and was boiled ; went back to his restau- 
rant ; made money again ; invested it in real estate — now he is 
dead ; real estate is valuable ! And this is life ! What old set- 
tler does not remember Apollo Hall and the pleasant face of 
Charles Rauch ? 



The familiar face of Mr. Haus has been seen on our streets 
for over a quarter of a century, for it is now some thirty-three 
years since he removed to this city and all these long years he 
has lived here. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1818; learned 
the trade of a carpenter ; came to St. Paul in 1852 ; was archi- 
tect and builder in those early days, his first work being the 
erection of the judge's seat in the old Court House ; Joe Daniels 
was contractor for this and the Capitol ; then the erection of the 
Court House itself; then he built the old Capitol building in 
1853 — burned down; the old Winslow House — burned in 1862 ; 
put the roof on the present jail in 1858 ; built an addition to the 
Presbyterian Church and American House ; was a member of 
the Legislature two terms, and Building Commissioner in 1857, 
and was Constable in the city for a year or so. Of late years he 
has done nothing except occasionally make a sale of real estate. 
He is a man marching on to seventy years ; is somewhat bent, 
walks with a cane, head turned towards the sidewalk, and is a 
very quiet person, generally wrapped up in his own thoughts. 


Mr. Donivan was born in Canada in 1835 and educated in 
that country; came to St. Paul in 1852 ; ran a string band for 
several years, and then carried on a fruit and vegetable stand in 
the market. He lost his eye-sight by inflammation of the eyes, 
but he plays some on the violin even now though blind, and con- 
trives to make an honest living. At one time he could have 
bought a fraction of two lots on Seventh street, 85 x 125, for $50; 
the same property is worth now ;^ 50,000. He is a pleasant, 
patient gentleman under his affliction, and a very deserving 


Mr. Masterson was born in New York State in 1830, where 
he was educated; early entered a store in Chester, Orange 
County, and removed to Pittston, Pa., in 1850, and there became 
a clerk. He came to St. Paul in 1852 and engaged with the 
Fuller boys, who kept a store on upper Third street and dealt in 
the Indian trade. He was clerk for the Messrs. P\iller up to 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 369 

1857. In 1 861 he entered the employ of Capt. T. M. Saunders, 
A. Q. M., U. S. A., being his first clerk, and continued with him up 
to his death, and then with Capt. Roselle until the year 1 87 1 , being 
the first and last clerk in the Quartermaster's department in this 
•city. He then entered the service of Col. Rogers in the pension 
office, and from thence became Inspector of Customs, and has 
been in the Custom House ever since, now some twenty odd years. 
Mr. Masterson is a man of ordinary size, quite quick in his 
movements, and a clerk as reliable as the magnetic needle. He 
is one of the most industrious men in the city, and is so 
faithful to his duties that his services are always in demand. He 
is temperate, quiet, unaffected — in a word, minds his own busi- 
ness and protects that of his employers. 


Mr. Faber was one of the earliest settlers, coming here in 
1852. He is, or rather was, a small, stirring man, at one time 
a good deal of a politician and very active in his party, but per- 
fidy on the part of some of his political friends taught him a 
lesson and he dropped out. He has always been an energetic 
business man, but like nearl)' all others who have been here for 
years he has had his financial misfortunes, and he wouldn't be 
an old settler if he hadn't had. He was born in Germany in 
1827 ; was educated in the old country and learned the trade of 
a tailor ; emigrated to America and located at Dubuque, Iowa, 
where he remained two or three years, and came to St. Paul as 
above .stated ; started a tailoring shop in the same block where 
he now is, and continued until 1853, when he opened a hotel in 
lower town, and soon after conducted the same business on Fort 
street until the war broke out, when he went into the grocery 
trade and continued in that until 1876; then started a restaurant 
which finally merged into Hotel Faber. 

He was a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1857 J 
wharf-master in 1862; member of the Legislature in 1869-70; 
married Miss Catharine Kumpt in 1854, and celebrated his silver 
wedding about six years ago. Mr. Faber has been a hard-work- 
ing, industrious man, and notwithstanding the disasters he has 
encountered, he has surmounted them all and is now doing 
well financiall}', and he deserves his good luck for he is a worthy, 



pleasant gentleman and withal has a fine-looking, robust, amia- 
ble, industrious, excellent wife. 


Mr. Laurent is of French parentage, born in Canada in 
1839, and after receiving an education there learned the trade of 
an architect and settled in St. Paul in 1852, being connected 
with Charles Marcott, and then with Knight thirteen years ; en- 
tered the army in 1861 ; was with Gen. Terry's expedition, and 
is the architect of Forts Totten, Stephenson and Ransom ; was in 
the employ of the Government nearly two years ; is the architect 
of many buildings, among which is a college in St. Peter, the 
contract for which he obtained over the efforts of all other archi- 
tects, and also the Union block at Minneapolis which cost $25,- 
000. He has also been the architect of many priva'e dAellings. 
Is Chief of Platoon in the St. Paul Caxalry, mustered in in 1885. 
He is a man of ordinary size, very polite, as all the French are,, 
a genial, pleasant gentleman, and an architect of fine ability. 


Was born in Ireland in 1841 ; moved to Kalamazoo, Michi- 
gan, in 1843 ; lived there until 1852, when that year he came to 
St. P.\ul ; began to work for Rice, Hollinshead & Becker in 
1854; also for Hollinshead & Becker, Hollinshead & Slade, and 
William Hollinshead until he died ; afterwards for Horn & 
Galusha, and Horn, Lund & Galusha ; in 1863 went out with 
Johnson & Thornton on a surveying expedition ; came back in 
1 864 ; in February of same year began work in the post office 
on Third street; continued until 1865, when he accepted a posi- 
tion in the Press office ; remained with the Press Company until 
1870, when he began work again in the post office as chief clerk ; 
continued in that position until H. M. Knox resigned the Assist- 
ant Postmastership, when he was appointed to that position by 
Dr. Day. He began at the bottom of the ladder and has worked 
up ; was an active member of the old fire department ; joined 
Hope luigine Co. No. i in 1860; held all the offices in the com- 
pany except Steward and Treasurer ; was Foreman at the time 
the company disbanded ; was married in 1877 to Miss Fannie 
Higgins ; has a family of four girls; owns a house and lot on 
McBoal street ; never speculated in land. He always remembers 


some advice that Mr. Becker gave him when he was working for 
him. He was Hke most young chaps, rather in a hurry to do 
some work and not over-particular how it looked when done. 
Mr. Becker called him up and did the work as it should be done 
and said — '* Pat, if you ever do anything do it right, even if it is 
to saw a stick of wood." He always remembered that. 

Mr. O'Brien is a short, prompt, very active man, with light 
hair and light complexion ; quick as ligtning in business matters, 
and one of the most industrious and reliable men in the city. 
He is pleasant in his manners, obliging, correct, always at his 
post, and one of the most efficient and faithful men in the post 
office department, a very important man in a very important 
position. His excellent character and his industrious habits 
make him an excellent citizen. 


Among one of the most noted old settlers was James M. 
Winslow. He was a tall, slender man, with thin features and 
measured his w^ords as a clerk measures molasses in cold 
weather ; and yet he was a good deal of a man, for he had brains 
to originate and courage to carry out. Before coming to St. 
Paul in 1852 lie ran a large stage business in Vermont. When 
he came here he built the old Winslow mill on Trout Brook ; 
erected the Winslow House at St. Peter, the old Winslow House 
at St. Anthony, the Winslow House in St. Paul, and partially 
completed the Metropolitan, which he tried very hard to have 
called the Winslow, but failing in his contract to complete it, the 
name was changed and that almost broke his heart. He also 
built the first telegraph line from here to Dubuque, and all these 
enterprises were generally started on bonuses received from the 
people and with which he pushed to completion enterprises beyond 
his means. He was a public-spirited man, always doing something 
of a public nature, and yet always cramped for want of means, 
and still he was a valuable citizen, especially in the line of 
improvements. He came to St. Paul in 1852, and was born in 
Vermont in 1810. He left for California some years ago, died 
there in October, 1885, aged 75 years, and was buried in Oak- 
land Cemetery, St. Paul, November 5, 1885. He was married 
and had one daughter and one son. 




Mrst Arrival of the Author of Pen Pictures— First Incorporation of the Fire and 

Marine Insurance Company — First Explorations on the Northern Pacific 

Railroad Route — First Democratic Territorial Officers — First 

Market House — First Cemetei^y Association Organized 

— First Occupancy of Capitol Building— First 

Dedication of the Baldwin School — 

First Indian Fight in the City — 

F^rst Pork Packing — The 

Events and- Old 

Settlers of 



In 1853, or thirty-three years ago, I arrived at the levee of the 
city of St. Paul. All was bustle. Six large steamboats unloaded 
their freight of human beings and in groups the passengers 
wended their way to the various hotels. I entered the door of 
the old Central House, Bench street, which stood back of Mann- 
heimer block. I talked with the people ; I paraded the streets. 
What life I — what animation I — what vim ! I entered the old 
Minnesotian office, which stood near where Schurmeier's block 
now stands, on Third street. There was John P. Owens, the 


editor, who died in September, 1884; — there was George W. 
Moore, his partner, long the Custom House officer, still among 
us, but in feeble health. I pushed on to the Democrat office, a 
two-story wooden building on the corner of Third and Wabasha 
streets, where McQuillan's block now stands. I entered the door 
on the latter street and ascended the stairs. I saw the noble 
features of David Olmsted; received the kindly greeting of 
George W. Armstrong ; met the smiling face of Jack Morgan — 
now all dead ! I crossed the street, passed by a little, low, one- 
story wooden building where Ingersoll's block now rears its lofty 
head. It was occupied by Gen. William G. Le Due, the subse- 
quent Commissioner of Agriculture, as a book store. I turned 
the corner on Bench street — wdiich was then opened but a short 
distance ; entered a story and a half wooden building ; I stood in 
the presence of Joseph R. Brown. The genial face, the twinkling 
eye, the noble heart, the kindly voice — now silent in the grave — 
will never be forgotten. It was in this building, in the employ 
of this good man Brown, that I wrote my first editorial in the 
city of St. Paul, in the year 1853, thirty -three years ago, and 
which editorial was quoted in my Pen Pictures in Chapter 
Twelve ; and though Brown, and Olmsted, and Morgan, and 
Armstrong, and the little old building have all gone to their rest, 
yet the writer still lives, a feeble link of a once fraternal chain of 
the past. 


Soon after my arrival I was importuned to speak at the dedi- 
cation of the Baldwin school, and responded in my first speech 
in the city, to the toast of the *' Old Folks at Home." It was an 
extempore effort, and being just fresh from under the shadow of 
those I loved, no doubt I spoke warmly on the subject under dis- 
cussion. At least when I had concluded I found some of the 
audience in tears, and among the rest a small, pretty woman 
with curls, who seemed to be more particularly affected than 
others, and on inquiry I found her to be Mrs. Masterson, the wife 
of the subject of one of my Pen Pictures. A few years later 
and she was dead, and from that time forward Masterson wan- 
dered like a ship at sea, tossed on the angry billows of fate, 
pining for something which never returned. 



Mr. Akers was born in England in 1812; educated in the 
old country; emigrated to America in 1831 ; resided at Baltimore 
four years ; engaged in carpentering and merchandising ; then 
resided at Cincinnati ; at Indianapolis ; in the South, and in Ohio 
in 1851 ; came to St. Paul as a sub-contractor in 1853 ; removed 
to Red Wing; was the first magistrate of that county in 1855 ; 
was a resident of Wisconsin in 1862 ; was County Commissioner 
six years and chairman of the County Board ; removed to Sauk 
Rapids in 1869; built three buildings there and opened a store, 
bought property and remained there two years, and in 187 1 
returned to St. Paul where he now is looking after his real estate. 
He is a man of force and sagacity, and had he followed out his 
own instincts would have had property in this city worth a good 
many thousand dollars. 


Mr. Akers is a small man and is as active as a cat. One 
looking at him would suppose him to be about fifty years old 
instead of seventy-three. His step is firm and elastic, while his 
mind is as quick and comprehensive as a man of thirty. 

Here is an illustration of how a man can live without the ar- 
tificial stimulants usually indulged in by the human family. Mr. 
Akers during his long and somewhat remarkable career, never 
chewed, drank for fifty years, or smoked, and what is more, he 
never wore glasses and his eyesight is good. He is a walking 
temperance society, and can see clearly because his brain is not 
muddled. Then again he is an illustration of another axiom, 
that " every man is the architect of his own fortune." 


The fourth session of the Territorial Legislature met in 
1853 in the two-story brick block which formerly stood on the 
corner of Third and Minnesota streets, on ground now occupied 
by the Mannheimer building. The ballot for Speaker reached 
as high as sixty-four, and then Dr. Day was elected by one vote 
over B. W. Lott. 

Several divorces had taken place up to this year, but they 
now began to subside. A fat, pussy justice of the peace by the 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 375 

name of Le May, a Frenchman, had a good deal to do in this 
line, especially as the early pioneers were mostly French, and he 
tied or untied the Gordian knot to suit his convenience. He 
came to St. Paul in 1853 and resided here up to the year 1854 
or '55, and then removed to Pembina, In speaking of one of his 
freaks Williams says : 

"A couple — French people — came to him to be married. The knot was well 
and truly tied, the fee paid and the certificate delivered. But the next day back came 
the parties and wanted the ceremony undone. Their brief trial of married life had 
convinced them that they were unsuited to one another. The obliging justice 
informed them that for $5 he would divorce them. The fee was paid, whereupon 
he tore up the marriage certificate and announced that they were free and single 

EVENTS OF 1853. 

This year began to realize the influence of civilization. The 
old Court House had been built and Gov. Ramsey delivered his 
message in it. The St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Com- 
pany which has grown to huge proportions now, was incorpo- 
rated this year, as were also the St. Paul & St. Anthony and Lake 
Superior & Mississippi Railroad Companies. So, too, Gov- 
ernor Stevens and his party explored the Northern Pacific route. 
This year was also made memorable by the arrival of Gen. Wil- 
lis A. Gorman, Territorial Governor, who succeeded Ramsey, 
and also the year when most of the new Territorial officers 
arrived — Rosser, Secretary ; Irwin, Marshal ; Welsh, Chief Jus- 
tice ; Chatfield and Sherburne, Associate Justices — all dead, from 
the Governor down the whole list. Col. D. A. Robertson suc- 
ceeded Olmsted in the Deiuocrat; Oakland Cemetery Associa- 
tion was organized; Capitol building completed, or rather execu- 
tive chamber occupied ; the old brick market house long since 
gone, was erected this year, as well as the Sisters' Hospital ; the 
Masonic order flourished ; a military company was organized ; 
Baldwin school dedicated; number of buildings in the town 604; 
residences 517; business houses 10 ; churches 6 ; hotels 4; 
school houses 4 ; Court House, Jail, Capitol. Population about 
3,000. Total valuation $723,534. Oakland Cemetery bought; 
40 acres cost ;^i,6oo, or $40 per acre; worth, now ;$5,oco per 
• acre, or $160,000. 



Among other events of this year the writer of these Pen 
Pictures became connected with Joseph R. Brown, as associate 
editor of the old Pio?teer. It was in this office and about this 
time that Mr. Brown received the epithet, or rather the playful 
expression applied to him, as *' Joe, the Juggler." An employe, 
Ike Conway, wrote upon the door of the office a number of 
names to which he applied significant terms, and among the 
others was the name of the writer and that of Mr, Brown, and 
here's where the expression originated, in the year 1853. Mr. 
Brown was not a juggler in any sense of the word, but he was 
very fond of fun, and to get at this fun in his own inimitable way 
he used very original ideas and means. 


No one can possibly comprehend the real character of Gen. 
Willis A. Gorman, once Governor of Minnesota, by any Pen 
Picture they may read of him, however accurate it may be, for 
he was so peculiar in his make-up that it needed a personal 
acquaintance with the man to fully appreciate his somewhat 
remarkable career as well as his singular characteristics. 


He was born in Kentucky in 1 816; received a common- 
school education and then studied law, and was admitted to the 
bar at the age of twenty years ; removed to Indiana in 1845 '^^'^^ 
began the practice of his profession ; elected a member of the- 
Legislature at the age of twenty-three years ; filled the position 
several terms ; was elected Major of a battalion of riflemen soon 
after the breaking out of the Mexican war and took a prominent 
part in the battle of Buena Vista; was mustered out in 1847; 
recruited a regiment for the Mexican campaign, of which he was- 
elected Colonel, and with his men fought gallantly until the close 
of the war; in 1849 ^^'^^^ elected a member of Congress from 
Indiana; re-elected in 1851, continuing in Congress for four 
years; was appointed Governor of Minnesota by President 
Pierce; came to St. Paul in 1853 and succeeded Gov. Ramsey, 
and remained in office up to 1857 ; resumed the practice of law 
this year and became a member of the Constitutional Conven- 

OF ST. PAUL, 3IIXN. 377 

tlon ; was a candidate the same year for United States Senator ; 
on the breaking out of the civil war in 1861 he was appointed 
Colonel of the First Regiment of Minnesota ; after the battle of 
Bull Run was promoted to the position of Brigadier General and 
held this position until 1864, when he was mustered out of the 
service and returned to St. Paul and resumed the practice of 
his profession with C. K. Davis, when, in 1869 he was elected 
City Attorney and was re-elected to that office four times and 
held the position when he died. 


Just before, or about the time that Gov. Ramsey's term 
expired, charges were preferred against him that while Governor 
and ex-ofificio Indian agent, he had violated the law by permit- 
ting bank bills to be paid out instead of gold — then the legal- 
tender of the government — that is, while acting for the Indians 
he sent the gold with which he was to pay the traders due from 
the Indians, to New York, and received in lieu thereof bills on 
the Bank of North America, and with these he paid the traders, 
not the Indians, when he should have paid in gold. These 
charges were referred to Gov. Gorman to take testimony, and I 
shall never forget my first impression of the man, as I saw^ him 
" clothed with a little brief authority," and strutting the stage like 
a monarch of all he surveyed. A tall, large-boned young man, 
named Dow, was secretary of the investigating committee, and 
from day to day the testimony was received until at last it was 
all in, and then Gorman went off into one of those peculiar Demo- 
cratic tirades for which he was so noted, and in which he prophe- 
sied that Ramsey would be totally annihilated, politically and 
otherwise, but the quiet, wily, discreet Governor slipped off to 
Washington slyly and when the testimony was received he was 
there to refute it, and the result was Congress exonerated him 
entirely from all blame. Gorman was shocked ; Ramsey was 
pleased. Gorman raved ; Ramsey smiled. The bucking pro- 
pensities of the Irish-American Governor were met by the buck- 
ing propensities of the Scotch-German Ex-Governor, and a halt 
was called, and by a sort of mutual consent the matter was 
finally dropped and new political issues arose to call into action 


Strong and vigorous opposition on the part of these two promi- 
nent men. 


Gov. Gorman was a man of strong positiveness of character 
and a Democrat in every sense of the word, completely and thor- 
oughly saturated with the Democratic juice. Of southern birth 
he hated any one who sought to interfere with slavery or curtail 
in any degree its power, and hence his early Territorial adminis- 
tration was strongly pro-slavery, but later along in life he arrayed 
himself among the anti-Nebraska Democrats and fought H. M. 
Rice, running on the Democratic ticket, by bringing out David 
Olmsted on a more liberal platform, while Marshall ran as a 
Republican. It was during this contest that the writer earnestly 
espoused the cause of Marshall, and just previous to going out 
into the country to speak for him he called on Gov. Gorman, and 
in the course of the conversation he (Gorman) informed him that 
H. M. Rice had been the means of removini>: the Winnebasfo 
Indians from Watab Prairie to Mankato, and as the Indians were 
then annoying the whites and the removal measure was a very 
unpopular one, I thought I saw in the statement a good point to 
make against Rice, especially in my speeches in the Minnesota 
valley ; so, in the simplicity of my early manhood I said to the 
Governor — ** And then this is really so ? " " Really, so, sir ! " 
exclaimed Gorman, straightening himself up, his eyes flashing 
fire and his voice roaring like a lion — " Really so, sir ! By 

G , sir, do you doubt, sir, the Executive of the Territory of 

Minnesota, sir?" I was a little frightened at his military and 
austere look, for I had never seen many live Governors though 
I had read about them, and this was a real snorter, so I timidly 
accepted the statement, more fully convinced than ever from the 
Governor's earnestness, that what he said must be true, and with- 
V drawing from the presence of this august, and truthful, and 
modest executive, I soon after started out on my journey, and 
reaching Mankato poured the grape-shot into Mr. Rice, charging 
him over and over again, specifically \\'\i\\ forcing the Indians 
down on the poor suffering whites, fully conscious in my own 
mind that I was telling the truth, (although Johnson said I 
" lied,") but I stuck to my text, for Governor Gorman asserted it 


was true, and who would think of doubting the word of a Demo- 
cratic Governor? And thus all along the Minnesota valley I 
made the statement again and again, when, close to home on mj^ 
return trip, I was informed by a friend in whom I had confidence, 
that my story was false from the beginning to the end, and on 
investigation I found it to be so and that Gorman had been telling 
me a political " whopper." He did it so artlessly, so earnestly, 
so scientifically and so convincingly, that I admired the man for 
his ingenuity ; and years afterwards when he admitted the soft 
impeachment and laughed over it, I gave him credit for great 
ability — especially in this line. 

''lieutenant, put this man in the guard house." 

Soon after Colonel Gorman had been promoted to the posi- 
tion of Brigadier General, he was stationed at Helena, Arkansas, 
and Gov. Hubbard then on his way down south, fortunately had 
among his troops a company from Minnesota and the boys were 
anxious to pay their respects to the old hero of many battles. 
So they marched to his headquarters, headed by Lieut. Wm. B. 
McGrorty and were drawn up in front of the tent of the Gen- 
eral, and when he appeared they gave him the military salute by 
presenting arms. One of the men immediatel}' after left the 
ranks, and rapidly approaching the General familiarly slapped 
him on the back, exclaiming — " How to do, Gineral ? " ''Who 
the devil are you ? " asked the General, turning and looking 
down upon the man with scorn. " I 'm one of the byes who 

used to vote with yees in the Dimocratic party." " The h 

you are !" responded the General. "What right have you to 
address your superior officer in this way ? " drawing himself up 
and assuming an extra dignified appearance. " Oh, well, Gin- 
eral, I meant no harm, but I jist wanted to see the old Dimo- 
cratic war-horse." Gorman frowned, stepped back a foot or two 
and then called out — " Lieutenant, put this man in the guard- 
house ! — the insolent fellow ! " And the Lieutenant, obeying 
orders seized his man and hustled him into the guard-house 
which was only a short distance from where his comrades stood 
silently witnessing the scene. And then almost simultaneously 
every man in the company laid down his musket upon the 
ground, and repairing in a body to a heap of hard coal near by, 


they let fly these little black missiles both at the guards and at the 
guard-house itself, until the officers began to think that matters 
were getting serious, and so the man was released and the affair 
was treated as a huge joke! — when, in fact, Gen. Gorman found 
that he had started a whirlwind which he could not control, and 
that the disaffection among the men was spreading in every 
direction. Of course he thought his action was necessary in 
order to keep up the discipline of the army, and in a measure it 
was, but the boys were too fresh from the ranks of civil life to 
permit what they deemed an outrage on one of their number to 
pass unrebuked, and the General had good sense enough to see 
that the best way out of the dilemma into which he had thought- 
lessly plunged himself, was to treat it as a joke! and laugh 
heartily at the fun ! which he took the credit of having made for 
this special occasion ! ! . ' 


It may not be generally known but it is a fact, nevertheless, 
that Congress in its enabling act did not locate the Capital at St. 
Paul permanently, but permitted the first Legislature to meet 
here, leaving a future Legislature to locate it where it pleased, 
subject, of course, to an endorsement of the people. Gov. Gor- 
man knew this, so he and his friends conceived the idea of remov- 
ing the Capital to St. Peter where they were largely interested in 
real estate, and a bill was introduced into the Legislature of 1857 
for this purpose and passed. On being referred to the committee 
on enrolled bills, of which Joe Rolette was chairman, he put the 
bill into his pocket and kept it 'there until the Legislature 
adjourned, and of course the measure failed. During these 
excitable times Gov. Gorman became very conspicuous in his 
advocacy of the measure, and in one of his speeches he declared 
that he would yet " live long enougli to see grass grow in the 
streets of St. Paul ! " This is what one might term ** a Gorman- 
ism," but wouldn't Gov. Gorman open his eyes now if he could 
only come back and see our paved streets, and stone sidewalks, 
and massive buildings, and 120,000 people, and some twelve lines 
of railroads, with thousands of miles of tracks and 250 trains of 
cars per day, coming into and going from the Saintly city! In 
an earnest, honest and in an unsophisticated manner he would 


say — '' Gentlemen, that little matter about grass growing in the 
streets of St. Paul was only a joke of mine ; by the eternal St. 
Paul will yet be the largest city in the United States of America ! 
Only a little joke, gentlemen ! — that's all." And he would say it 
in such a way as to really convince those who heard him that it 
was true. 

"never was there!" 

Gov. Gorman had made a flaming Democratic speech to the 
Irish at Shieldsville and then made another directly opposite in 
its tenor to the Americans at Northfield, when one of his audience 
who had heard him at Shieldsville accused him of having said 
things entirely different at that place from what he said at North- 
field, when Gorman, drawing himself up to his greatest height 
and with a burst of eloquence, exclaimed — " My friend is mis- 
taken ; I was never in Shieldsville in my life ! " The man was 
dumbfounded ; couldn't speak ; and Gorman continued his speech 
as though nothing had happened. 

HIS personality. 

Gov. Gorman was a well-proportioned man ; straight, com- 
manding, and good-looking. He had a strong will-power ; was 
very decided and emphatic; a man of undaunted courage; a 
good lawyer; a well-trained politician; an excellent stump 
speaker ; a ready debator ; an honest executive officer, and as a 
citizen, genial and social. He was impulsive, and in politics was 
apt to exaggerate ; liked display, and noise, and bluster, and 
command ; was one of the boys among the boys, and sincerely 
believed in the doctrine that *' all's fair in politics," yet as a man 
he has left a name untarnished, and during his long and useful 
public career I find nothing against his good intentions nor do 
I find any charge of fraud or dishonesty or meanness detrimen- 
tal to his character. He was a natural leader of men, and aside 
from his peculiar idiosyncrasies, was, in three words — a good 


Where the Merchants hotel now stands, corner of Jackson 
and Third streets, existed in 1853 a log cabin, wdiich sat above 
the street on a rising hill with a pair of stairs leading to it, and 


in the upper portion of this cabin was the room of Judge Aaron 
Goodrich, the Chief Justice of Minnesota. Opposite this cabin 
was what was termed the "Minnesota Outfit," a fur-trading estab- 
Hshment owned by P. Choteau, Jr., & Co., of St. Louis, but v/hich 
subsequently passed into the hands of Forbes & Kittson, and 
where all the Indians then in this region — and there were a 
great many — did their trading. Early on the morning of April 
26th, 1853, some sixteen Chippewas were seen prowling about 
the city, and when night came on they hid themselves behind 
some boards standing near the stairway leading to the upper 
portion of the afore-mentioned cabin, where was the room of the 
aforesaid judge. During the night a favorite dog of the Judge 
awakened him repeatedly by pawing on his bed and whining and 
otherwise endeavoring to arrest his attention. The annoyance 
became so great that the Judge whipped the dog into submission, 
but the sequel proved that the dog knew more than the Judge 
even though he were a sound lawyer and deeply learned in legal 


Morning came. On the outskirts of the city several of the 
Chippewas were on the lookout from the top of the remains of a 
hotel in lower town which had been destroyed by fire. The 
Sioux lived on the west side of the river and when they moved 
across in their canoes to "come to the '* outfit," the Chippewas,. 
who had secreted themselves the night before, were signaled as 
to their (Sioux) coming by those on the watch-tower, and an- 
other signal was given when the Sioux landed on the shore. 
When they entered the " outfit," still another signal was given, 
and then, in an instant the Chippewas opened a fire into the 
" outfit" killing a sister of " Old Bets," (a well-known Sioux In- 
dian character in St. Paul in early days, and whose wound was 
dressed by Dr. Goodrich, assisted by I. P. Wright,) wounding 
several Indians and riddling the building with balls. Then went 
up one of the most unearthly yells ever heard in even an Indian 
country, and all the Chippewas rushed for the " outfit," no doubt 
instigated by the burning imagination of recking scalps. Theo- 
dore Borup and David Oakes (the latter dead,) who were in the 
store at the time, in the midst of the imminent danger that sur- 


rounded them, stepped to the front and confronting the savages, 
charged them with cowardice in thus attacking and kiUing inno- 
cent women and children. This brave conduct on the part of 
these two men held in check the Indians and they took their 
departure. Had Judge Goodrich responded to the instincts of 
his noble dog it is possible this brutal attack would have been 
avoided, for the Judge, finding a body of Indians secreted close 
to his room would have at once concluded they were there for no 
good purpose and proper measures would have been taken to 
have them sent away. 


In the midst of this excitement a half-breed named Antonie 
Findlay, who was in the " outfit " at the time, ran to the rear end 
of the building and climbing out of a window paused a moment 
to view the situation. In front of him was apparently death from 
the savages ; below him was twenty-five feet of space with jagged 
rocks at the bottom. While hanging on the window sill in this 
•position the idea of being shot in the rear made him shake so 
violently that he let go his hold and down he went. Bruised and 
battered, and frightened half to death he limped off and thus 
escaped the brutal bullets of the Chippewas, one of which grazed 
his foot before he leaped from the window. A white man fol- 
lowed Findlay out on to the window sill in the same way and at 
the same time, but viewing his perilous situation he scrambled 
back again into the window, and still lives to recount his narrow 
escape from death. 


Immediately following this murder, as it was nothing else 
but murder, mounted troops were called for by Gov. Ramsey 
and in response Lieut. McGruder, from Fort Snelling, with a 
body of dragoons, made their appearance and accompanied by 
the Governor started in pursuit of the flying Chippewas who fled 
toward St. Croix, their old hunting grounds. Coming in sight 
of the savages the soldiers fired without orders, so it is alleged, 
and it is also said that Lieut. McGruder fired a fatal shot; at 
any rate an Indian fell, was scalped, and the balance secured as 
prisoners. In 1853 I visited Fort Snelling and saw the scalp of 


this Indian then in possession of Lieut. McGruder, who subse- 
quently took a prominent part with the South in the Civil War. 
This was the same McGruder who had possession of one of the 
guns which pointed down Pennsylvania avenue during the 
inauguration of Mr. Lincoln. If, at this time, McGruder and 
some of his companions had turned their cannons upon the peo- 
ple of Washington there is no telling what would have been the 
result ; and if the Indians had gathered their forces at the time 
of the pursuit and made an attack upon this pursuing party, 
they would have wiped them out of existence and been also able 
to ha\e seized the city itself. But they didn't think of that, or 
if they did they were afraid to act, and the whites were saved 
from a scene of terrible carnage and bloodshed. 

Directly after the Chippewas had fired and wounded his 
sister, Wooden-Legged Jim rushed to the door and tried to kill 
his enemies with a revolver, but the dilapidated old weapon 
would not go off, when he seized a rifle and gave a parting shot, 
which, it is said wounded the chief The fleeing Indians 
responded and Jim was soon minus a part of his wooden leg, 
but that did not prevent him from hobbling back in triumph and 
yelling as only an Indian can yell when he gives the real, genu- 
ine savage war-whoop. 


Among the arrivals at St. Paul in the early part of 1853, 
was a tall, slender, well-dressed young gentleman b}' the name 
of Rosser, who came to the city as Secretary of the then Ter- 
ritory of Minnesota. He was about twenty-five years of age, or 
born in Virginia in 1828. He was a man of remarkable affabilit}-, 
a genial, pleasant, chivalrous Southerner, but a lover of slavery 
and a hater of abolitionists, and while personally friendly to the 
writer yet he detested his principles. In his arrogant Southern 
manner he sought to impose upon a colored man at the Capitol, 
but in an article in the old St. Paul Daily Times I exposed his 
conduct and stated that no gentleman would be guilty of the act 
imputed to him, which so irritated Rosser that he gave out notice 
to his friends that he intended to chastise me for my unpleasant 
expression, so of course I made preparation for my defense, but 
we never met and consequently no collision occurred. 

OF ST. PA UL, 3nNN. 383 


Years ago it was customary to celebrate the Fourth of July 
in St. Paul in a real old-fashioned and becoming manner — that 
is, by nearly all the citizens taking a part in the proceedings and 
getting happy as the golden hours flew by. It was on one of 
these occasions that Mr. Rosser, then Secretary of the Territory, 
was called upon to respond to the toast of Minnesota, and he did it 
as the fellow addressed the lamp-post at lO o'clock at night on his 
way home. My relations with Mr. Rosser would have justified me 
in exposing his conduct at the banquet, but I proposed to take 
my revenge in another way ; so I went into my office and wrote 
•out a neat little speech — I was then editing the Daily limes — 
and the next morning it appeared in my paper. Going down 
Third street unfortunately I observed Rosser coming up. What 
to do I did not know. I looked for a corner but none was handy, 
so I proposed to meet him boldly and walked along bravely. 
Rosser put directly for me, his body bent forward and his arms 
swinging in the air, when we met face to face, and a moment 
more he had me by the hand. " Old fellow," he exclaimed, '* did 
I make that speech last night?" "Yes, you did," I replied. 

'' Well, if I did," responded Rosser, *' I '11 be if I don't get 

drunk on every Fourth of July." And again shaking my hand 
most cordially, and requesting me to call on him at any time for 
a favor, we parted good friends. In June 1857 I wanted to go 
East and get married, but had no money. The United States 
government owed me about ^3,000 for Territorial printing, but 
how could I get it? There were no funds in the treasury, so an 
idea bethought me, I will go see Rosser, and making a clean 
breast of the matter to him he turned around and asking for my 
warrants endorsed them as Secretary of the Territory, and Ira 
Bidwell, the banker, immediately cashed them and I was pecu- 
niarily happy. When his term of office expired Rosser went to 
Mankato to live, then went south, joined the cause of the Con- 
federates and died' — a kind, genial, courteous Virginia gentleman. 


Mr. Irwin was born in Missouri about 1824, and came to 
Minnesota in 1853 as United States Marshal of the Territory. 


He was a large man, with full habits; rather quiet, yet he made 
a good officer. He left Minnesota and died many years ago. 


Became Chief Justice of Minnesota in 1853, and arrived in 
St. Paul the same year. He must have been born somewhere 
near the year 181 2, for as I remember him he was a tall, slender 
gentleman, somewhat advanced in years even in 1853. He was 
a quiet, undemonstrative man, whose speech and movements 
were moderate, and finally removed to Red Wing where he lived 
and died. He was esteemed a gentleman of unblemished char- 


Judge Chatfield, a name by which he was best known, was 
born in Butternuts, Otsego County, New York, June 27, 1810; 
studied law in New York ; was admitted to the bar in 1837 J ^^'^^^ 
a member of the New York Legislature in 1839, 1840, 1841 and 
1846; removed to Wisconsin in 1848, and came to S'i\ Paul in 
the year 1853, as Associate Justice of the Territor\'. He was a 
straight, splendidly-built man, with a florid complexion and an 
elegant address ; very genial in his manners ; indeed one might 
say he was " a fine American gentleman all of the olden time."' 
He was a judge of the finest purity of character; very careful^ 
and very honest, and very sincere, and very conscientious in his 
convictions of right. He removed to Belle Plaine many years 
ago, where his duties called him, and there he died universally 
mourned by the whole bar of the State. 


Judge Sherburne was cast in the mould of a grand man. 
He was physically large and intellectually great. He was one 
of the Associate Judges of Minnesota, born about 1820, in the 
State of Maine, and came to St. Paul in the year 1853. He was 
a man of fine proportions, witli a hirge, towering forehead and 
immense eyes, and his decisions ha\c never been (ncrruled. He 
sat on the bench a real judge — calm, cool, decided, clear-headed, 
dignified. The latter part of his life was spent in Sherburne 
County, named after him, and he went down to the grave in the 
full vigor of his manhood. 

OF ST. PAUL, Miyy. 387 


Mr. Dustin was born in New York, when, I do nut know ; 
came to St. Paul in 1853 as United States District Attorney, and 
occupied a one-story wooden building on upper Third street, near 
Eagle, He was a social gentleman and a lawyer of a good deal 
of ability. He was in perfect health and attended a celebration 
on the Fourth of July, 1854, when in six days after he was dead 
— supposed to have died of cholera. 


This year Kittson, Rolette and Gingras, members of the 
Legislature from Pembina, walked to the Capital of the Territory, 
500 miles on snow-shoes ! Think of that ye modern enervated 
dudes ! Our esteemed citizen, Commodore Kittson, is as vigor- 
ous to-day at the age of seventy years, as many others at the 
age of fifty ! Moral — Walk 500 miles on snow-shoes ! and then 
hve a happy and serene life ! 

The Minnesota Outfit building which used to stand where 
the Prince block now is, opposite the Merchants hotel on Third 
street, and in which building old Bet's sister recei\'cd her death- 
wound from the Chippewas, is now on Eighth street, below Broad- 
way, (removed there,) and the old letters on the clap-boards are 
easily seen through the fading paint, indicating its former use. 


This year J. W. Bass, postmaster, went out of power and 
Maj. Forbes came in as the new incumbent. J. C. Terry became 
his deputy and continued in the postal service eighteen years. 

The post office in 1853 stood on Third street a short dis- 
tance from Minnesota, and was surrounded with hazel brush and 
trees. Of course it was a small affair, and Terry had considera- 
ble time on his hands which he employed in shooting prairie 
chickens that seemed to have a peculiar fancy for the corner now 
occupied by the Pioneer Pirss office, they found good pick- 
ings near a stable. 1 low astonished some of those chickens 
would be to come back now and catch a glimpse of their old 
stamping-grounds, and especially lower Third street ! 

This year a theatrical company held the boards at the Court 
House; the old city market building, brick, long since removed, 


was built ; a man b}' the name of Thomas Grieves was shot by- 
Henry Constans in self-defense ; three papers were then pub- 
lished in St. Paul ; some seventy merchants constituted the com- 
mercial supremacy of the city and among them were ten dr}'- 
goods and eight general dealers and ten who dealt in groceries 
Two men by the name of Hull and Clark were brutally 
murdered in the fall of this year, and the writer, on publishing a 
severe column article in the Pioneer on the outrage, was waited 
upon by two ministers who thanked him very sincereh" for his 
courage, but expressed their fears that he might lose his life for 
thus daring, at that early day, to speak out so boldly against 
murder and crime. They even desired to accompany me home, 
but I went it alone, lived through it all, and " still live." 


Mr. Spiel was born in Bingen on the Rhine, in Germany, in 
1832 ; came to the United States in 1847 ; to St. Paul in the fall 
of 1853 ; opened a grocery store on upper Third street, and for 
a time made money, but soon found out that it would not do to 
trust everybody ; his experience came too late ; people specu- 
lated ; lost money ; bank bills were not good over night ; I 
crashing times of 1857 came on, and in 1858 down he went with 
many others, and he has been struggling more or less ever since. 
Mr. Spiel married a daughter of Theodore Ayd in 1855, who has 
had eight children, five of whom are living and grown up. He 
was elected Commissioner of Ramsey County for two terms. 

If any man in this city has battled faithfully and honestly 
for a fair, square living, that man is Joe Spiel. I remember him 
for over a quarter of a century as an energetic, stirring, indus- 
trious man, and yet fate seemed to be against him. In early days 
he was a great Democratic politician, and the little, short, thick- 
set disputant with his groceries ready to be delivered, would stop 
any time for an hour and discuss politics, always warmly sus- 
taining the principles of Democracy, but it did not help his busi- 
ness any. He is quick in his movements, positive in his make- 
up, honest in his dealings, faithful in his duties, and persevering 
in his efforts. If he had paid a little more attention to the inter 
ests of Joe Spiel instead of to the interests of his political friends, 
it would have been better for him, and yet he is a pleasant gen- 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 389 

tleman, and in the position that he now fills, that of City Jailor, 
he is always the philosopher, and while strict in the performance 
of his duties still he is kind and considerate to those entrusted 
to his care. 


While Mr. Culver may very justly be considered an old set- 
tler of this State yet he did not come to St. Paul until 1853. 
He was born in New York in 1818 ; removed to Michigan in 
1834; then to Iowa and remained at Fort Atkinson until 1848, 
when he came to Minnesota and settled at Long Prairie and 
engaged in busmess with Charles and Henry M, Rice; came to 
this city and formed a partnership with John Farrington, and the 
firm became Culver & Farrington, and continued in business 
twenty-two years. Beside carrying on an extensive trade with 
the Northwest the firm opened a pork-packing department, the 
first in Minnesota. Their trade was very extensive among the 
Indians and for years they maintained many trading posts on 
the frontier, dealing largely in furs. When the house relin- 
quished its business the partners commenced dealing extensively 
in real estate, and became part owners of the Metropolitan hotel, 
and finally Col, Culver became the landlord after the death of 
Mr. Deucher and continued so about one year when he died, and 
the hotel for a time was closed. 

Mr. Culver was a peculiar man. He was large physically ; 
very even in his temperament ; exceedingly good-natured ; cool 
and meditative ; moderate in his movements ; reflective ; and was 
noted especially for his hearty good laugh. His whole appear- 
ance gave one the impression of solidity, and his universal sunny 
nature won him many friends. He was regarded as a cautious, 
prudent business man, and at his death was supposed to have 
left a valuable estate, but from some unexplainable cause his 
property dwindled away, and his heirs caught the shadows instead 
of the substance. He loved quiet fun, enjoyed a joke, and in his 
nature was very social. He left a widow who still lives, and a 
son and daughter, both married, — the daughter now dead. 


Born in Indiana in 1827 Mr. Smith studied law and then 
was elected Auditor of Warwick County of that State when about 


twenty-two years of age, and served three years ; came to St. 
Paul in 1853 in the capacity of Private Secretary of Gov. Gor- 
man and Territorial Librarian, which position he held until 1858. 
In 1856 he was appointed County Treasurer, and was subse- 
quently elected to the same position, and continued in the office 
twelve vears. In 1866 he entered the banking house of Dawson 
& Stevens where he has been one of the firm ever since, or 
twenty-five years, though the name has been changed from time 
to time. 

He was Private Secretary of Gov Gorman ; Territorial Li- 
brarian ; County Treasurer ; Alderman two years, and president 
of the Council, and is now serving on his second term as Alder- 
man and president of the Council from the Fourth ward; was a 
member of the Legislature of 1856, and was also a member of 
the Legislature of 1885. 

Mr. Smith has bought and sold a great deal of real estate in 
this city, and it is the old story — property has greatly advanced 
over prices he originalh' paid, some pieces going from 3600 to 
$30,000 and upwards. In 1853 he purchased two lots on P^ort 
street, I20x 180 — his present residence — which cost him Si,ooo; 
worth now $30,000 ; then he secured two lots in the rear of the 
former ones, Ironting on Oak street, 120x180, for which he 
paid $500; worth 38,000; in 1861 he bought the lot corner of 
Cedar and Fourth streets — where the new club house has been 
built — seventy-five feet front ; cost 3600 ; worth $30,000; a lot 
corner of Sixth and Robert streets, 90x100 feet, for which he gave 
31,000; worth 340,000; a corner lot on Market and Fourth 
streets, fronting the park, for 33,000; worth $25,000; in com- 
pan)- with Mr. Dawson he bought in 1871 about fifty acres in 
what is now known as a part of Woodland Park, paid 3400 j)er 
acre, or in the aggregate, $20,000; worth now $10,000 per acre, 
or 3500,000; secured several acres in Stinson's Addition for 
$330 per acre; worth 84,000 per acre; in 1866 purchased four- 
teen acres in Wilkin and He\'wood's outlots, with a good house 
thereon, for; propert}' worth now $25,000, and very un- 
expectedly to himself and to his preconceived notions, he holds 
this property yet, and when he stops to think over" the matter he 
gets frightened at his own temerity. 



Mr. Smith is a very popular man, and almost every office 
lie has held (except that of Treasurer,) has been thrust upon him. 
When holding the latter position he was quite liberal with his 
funds, gi\ing to churches, schools, and other charitable objects, 
.and very likely also for political purposes, so that when he came 
out of office at the end of twelve years, he only had $6,000 in 
real estate, and with this capital and a few hundred dollars in 
cash, he became a partner with Wm. Dawson, giving his note 
to Dawson for the capital he furnished, (;$5,ooo,) and this is the 
way he commenced the banking business in which he has been 
engaged for a quarter of a century. Mr. Smith has always been 
a Democrat, but when he ran for office the Whigs invariably 
lielped him through, and in one case he came out ahead of all 
his party friends, being the only candidate on the Democratic 
ticket elected. He is a man of medium size; well constructed; 
rather cool in his temperament; cautious; very pleasant in his 
manners ; — somewhat non-commital, yet with nerve sufficient to 
■decide when it is necessary ; exceedingly social in his nature ; 
liberally disposed ; kind-hearted, and popular with all classes. 
He married a sister of Gov. Gorman and has one son and two 
•daughters. He is a careful, prudent, solid, worthy, valuable 

WM. B. m'grorty. 

Capt. McGrorty was born in Ireland in 1825; came to 
America in 1844; settled in New York city and was employed 
in several commercial houses and as a commercial traveler until 
the year 1853, when he came to St. Paul. On arriving here he 
purchased the lot on the corner of Robert and Fourth streets, 
now occupied by the building of the German National Bank, 
erected a stone store on it, and engaged in the grocery business, 
and soon after entered politics, and took an active part in the 
ranks of the Democratic party. 


As the result of his political career he was elected Alder- 
man of the Second ward in 1856, for three years; was County 
Commissioner for three years ; a member of the Constitutional 


Convention in 1857; a member of the Legislature in 1858, and 
was appointed United States Quartermaster in 1864, which posi- 
tion he held at the time of his unfortunate death. 

Soon after the passage of the $5,000,000 loan bill, and when 
Selah Chamberlain began to construct railroads in this State, 
Mr. McGrorty took heavy railroad contracts, and of course 
relied upon the good faith of the State to sustain the contractors, 
but when the bonds were repudiated his entire property went by 
the board — he lost everything. 

Mr. McGrorty's lot on the corner of Fourth and Robert 
streets, cost him in 1853, $800; worth now $50,000; he paid 
Si, 800 in 1856 for one hundred feet on Jackson street where he 
formerly resided ; worth now $30,000. He erected a large stone 
residence on this property and lived there for some time, but sold 
it to N. W. Kittson, where Mr. Kittson resided until his family 
moved into his new mansion on St. Anthony Hill. 

Captain McGrorty was a strong Douglas Democrat, and on 
the election of Abe Lincoln and the secession of South Carolina,, 
he entered heartily into the Union movement and urged the vig- 
orous prosecution of the war. He carried out in practice what he 
taught in theory, and entered the army (Fifth Minnesota Regi- 
ment,) in 1 86 1, and served with great credit on Gov. Hubbard's 
staff when Colonel and also when Brigadier General in the field,. 
and was especially mentioned by Gen. Hubbard in his reports of 
battles to the Adjutant General, for brave and meritorious con- 
duct. Was appointed United States Quartermaster and Captain 
by President Lincoln, September, 1864, and in December of the 
same year he received a furlough to come home to St. Paul, and 
February 16, 1865, after the expiration of his furlough and while 
returning to his post of duty, was drowned in the Mississippi 
river at or near La Crosse. 


He had ridden down in the stage from St. Paul to a point 
nearly opposite La Crosse, when it was found unsafe to go over- 
the ice in a vehicle and he concluded to walk, so in compan\' 
with a gentleman by the name of Temple, of this city, the}' 
trudged on their way together, talking gaily of the war and of 
other matters, when, all of a sudden, they broke through the ice 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 393 

o\' walked directly into an air hole, (as it was in the evening and 
they could not see very clearly,) and both disappeared out of 
sight. Search was made and at last McGrorty's body was found 
and buried by the soldiers at La Crosse. 


Capt. McGrorty was a true-blue Irishman, and yet an Ameri- 
can. He was a good-sized man with sandy hair and whiskers, 
retaining all the impulsiveness of his nationality and yet so 
schooled by experience as to be calm and self-possessed in times 
of emergency. He was bold and aggressive in his character, self- 
reliant, insinuating, yet positive when necessary, courageous, a 
man of considerable force of character, and who always inspired 
confidence in those about him. He was in command of the Min- 
nesota company that went to visit Gen. Gorman at Helena — an 
incident noted in the history of the Governor's life. He never 
forgot the green old sod of his fatherland, for, in connection with 
the late Gen. Shields and others he sought to do in 1854 what 
Bishop Ireland has since successfully accomplished, viz.: to 
establish colonies of Irishmen on the soil of Minnesota and 
Dakota. He was social in his nature, kind-hearted, and has left 
behind him many pleasant memories. He married in Vermont 
in 1848, and his widow and six children are still living, some in 
St. Paul and some in other parts of Minnesota. 


This is the eldest son of the late Capt. William B. McGrorty ; 
was born in St. Paul in 1855 ; educated and graduated at our 
High School in 1875 ; also at the Law Department of the Univer- 
sity of Michigan in 1879; in 188 1-2 was a member of the firm of 
McGrorty & Hall ; same year was elected Associate Municipal 
Judge, which office he resigned to accept the Probate Judgeship 
in November, 1882; was elected president of the St. Paul 
Alumni Association — numbering 200 — in 1884, and is now on 
his second term as Judge of Probate. 

Judge McGrorty is a quiet, unostentatious gentleman, less 
demonstrative than his father yet possessing many of his quali« 
ties. He is a good deal smaller man ; a thoughtful student ; a 


good lawyer, and makes an excellent judge. He is a young man 
of fine abilities and very popular. 


Mr. Prescott was born in Maine about 1827; came to St. 
Paul in 1853; was appointed Superintendent of Public Instruc- 
tion by Gov. Gorman ; was for a long time Clerk of the United 
States District Court; a member of the Board of Pklucation from 
1862 to 1868, and was a journalist of a good deal of ability. I 
think he was also in the army. Some years ago Mr. Prescott 
became a preacher and has devoted his time to that profession 
ever since. 

I shall never forget the remark Mr. Prescott made to the 
writer soon after his fight on the Custom House swindle whereby 
I saved several hundred thousand dollars to the United States 
government, and I am sorry to say got kicked for it — ** If you 
should do no other act of your life, that of itself ought to carry 
you to heaven ! " He was a sincere, upright, manly Christian, if 
there ever was one (and I must confess they are very few in num- 
ber,) and of course he is, or was, a poor man. I remember him 
as small in stature, very quick in movement, impulsive, decided, 
straight-forward, honest, consistent, manl)-, sincere. And if there 
is a good place beyond this world George W. Prescott will surely 
get it, for he surely deserves it. 


I have but little data respecting Mr. Whitney, although I 
knew him well. He came to St. Paul in 1853, and was appointed 
Clerk of the Supreme Court by Gov. Gorman, and was at one 
time City Clerk. I think he subsequently became a partner with 
his brother in the daguerrean business, but when he left St. Paul 
and where he now is, I do not know. He was a tall, active, 
bustling, go-a-headative man, quite gentlemanly in his bearing, 
and a good clerk. All of the old settlers of 1853 knew Andy J. 


Mr. Beulke was born in St. Pall in 1853, and was educated 
at our schools. At the age of twenty-one years, or in 1874, he 
engaged in the butcher's trade up to 1880, when he purchased 

OF ST. PAUL, MINX. 30r> 

the Garibaldi meat market, an old-established house, being among 
the first regular meat shops in the city, and for years has run it 
very successfully. He is a prompt, stirring business man, and 
though comparatively a young chap, yet he is an old settler, and 
one generally esteemed for his many good qualities. 


Mr. Bruggermann was born in Prussia in 1828; came to 
America in 1834, and resided in Michigan eight }'ears ; arrived 
at St. Paul in 1853 and engaged in the malting business, and 
carried on a very extensive trade, his brewery being 540 x 120 
feet, two and one-half stories high. He married Miss Barbara 
Keller in 1855; eight children are li\ing; two are dead. Mr. 
Bruggermann is a solid, excellent, worthy citizen. 


Was born in Ireland in 1829; came to America in 1849; 
resided m^New York two years ; came to St. Paul in 1853 ; mar- 
ried Patrick Shannahan ; he died leaving seven children, when in 
1878 she married Joseph Cranston, and for years they kept the 
Traveler's House in the Sixth ward, or West St. Paul. Mrs. 
Cranston is a sprightly business woman, and though a genuine 
old settler yet she is far from looking old, and is greatly respected 
for her many excellent traits of character. 


While sitting in a small office of the Snelling House thirty- 
two years ago, my attention was arrested by the imposing pres- 
ence of a large Indian chief, who, with his blanket about him 
strode into the room with the dignity of a Roman Senator. He 
was a large man, with high cheek-bones, a well-poised head, 
dark, brilliant black eyes and hair, and with a pleasant smile he 
exclaimed while passing — *' Booshu, nechee ! " — "how to do, 
friend ! " — and took a seat near me. There was a massive char- 
acteristic about the man which did not belong to the ordinary 
Indian and yet he had all the Indian peculiarities. Dinner ^\•as 
soon announced and he took a seat near me at the table. He 
ate with ordinary deliberation and an ordinary amount of food, 
but while so engaged one of the windows was suddenly dark- 


ened, and on looking up I beheld many grimy faces and burn- 
ing eyes, with war-paint and feathers, the possessors of which 
belonged to the Sioux nation. Gleaming knives and partially 
covered tomahawks made my position by the side of the Chip- 
pewa chief rather uncomfortable, so I moved away ; but he con- 
tinued to eat on, and then the door opened and thirty Sioux war- 
riors filed along in front of the foe of their nation with clinched 
rifles and hearts glowing with revenge. Still calm, with not a 
muscle of his mobile face denoting fear, the chief finished his 
dinner, coolly arose, drew his blanket about him, and with a 
lordly tread, a compressed lip and a flashing eye, walked down 
in front of these hostile Sioux and lighting his pipe deliberately 
puffed the smoke into the very faces of his inveterate foes. That 
man was Hole-in-the-Day, the chief of the Chippewa nation, 
and the thirty Sioux w^arriors were on his war-path, but they 
feared the white man's troops that would dart down upon them 
the moment the blow had been struck, so they restrained their 
wrath and let the great chief depart unmolested. 


Hole-in-the-Day was an Indian of remarkable sagacity and 
intelligence. He associated with the whites and comprehended 
their ideas of civilization. He was very wily and- very brave, 
and greatly feared by his enemies. It is said of him that he 
would float down the Mississippi river in his canoe to St. Paul, 
paddle across the stream to the opposite shore, secrete his boat, 
lie in wait for the Sioux who w^ere in the habit of following the 
trail to Mendota, then pounce upon them, kill one or two, secure 
their scalps, and make his way back again to the east shore, and 
thence home. 

He visited Washington several times and became pretty well 
versed in the ways of tricksters and politicians. Once while on 
a visit to the Capital he fell in love with a white girl in the 
National hotel, and actually proposed to her, was accepted, and 
they were married. He came west, repaired to his home near 
Fort Ripley, installed his wife in his tepee as the White Indian 
Queen, and soon after he was assassinated while riding home 
with his little son. Hole-in-the-Day had a magnificent physical 
organization. He was very straight, quite dignified and yet \'er}- 


affable, and withal he was very generally liked by the whites. 
During the Sioux outbreak in 1862 he had overtures from Little 
Crow, the great Sioux chief, to join with him in massacring the 
whites, but he declined the honor although some of his people 
w^ere very anxious to have him do so. 

On a high hill overlooking the Mississippi river, about three 
miles above Little Falls, lie the bones of the great chief and 
those of his father after whom he was named. There is a slight 
depression between two hills, and in this depression is a lone 
tree which stands as a sentinel over the graves of these two 
noted chiefs. No other Indians lie buried in the neighborhood. 


Mr. Gross is a native of Prussia, born in 1822; came to 
America in 185 1; remained in Chicago up to 1853, when he 
migrated to St. Paul. He was a carpenter and builder by trade, 
and worked at his business one year, when, in 1854 he opened a 
hotel known as the St. Paul House, which he subsequently sold 
and then opened the Gross hotel on Fort street, where he now 
is. He married Miss Susie Faber in 1854. 

Mr. Gross is a large man with a good-sized bay-window, and 
as seen on the street he resembles an old Knickerbocker of the 
early days of New York city. He is a saving, industrious per- 
son, quiet in his manners, and from long years of industry has 
built up a good business. i 


Mr. Michel was born in Germany in 1832; educated in the 
old country and emigrated to America in 1852 ; worked at the 
trade of joiner and carpenter in Buffalo, New York ; stopped for 
a short time at Chicago, and removed to St. Paul in 1853, where 
he continued working at his trade up to 1867, when he opened a 
grocery store and saloon, and has accumulated property worth 
from ;^75,ooo to $100,000. Married in St. Paul to Miss Francis 
Breker. Mr. Michel is a stirring, sagacious man, and can pile 
up a lot of dollars quicker than any person I know of. 


Almost everybody used to know ** Johnny Weide," as he was 
familiarly called, because he was one of the most pleasant gen- 


tlenien in the city of St. Paul, and as a young man he was very 
popular. He was born at Madison, Indiana, in 1844, where he 
remained up to 1853, ^vhen, with his parents he removed to this 
cit}', and was partially educated at our public schools, but 
finished his education at Leipsic, Saxony, Germany. On his 
return to St. Paul he opened a clothing store on East Third 
street, and then after spending a year in Philadelphia he returned 
to his clothing trade and continued in it up to 1870, when lie sold 
out. For several years following he engaged in the music busi- 
ness, and disposing of that he opened an art studio, or school, 
in which I believe he is now employed. Mr. Weide's father 
came to St. Paul in 1853, ^^^'^ started a grocery store in lower 
town, accumulated a good deal of property and died several 
years ago quite an old man. Joseph and Charles, well-known 
citizens, are brothers of John. 

Mr. Weide is a medium-sized gentleman, with a well-pro- 
portioned form, rather slender in figure, with a fine countenance ; 
exceedingly polite, and always tastily dressed. His buttoned 
frock coat, silk hat and inevitable cane, with a quick step, mark 
some of the peculiarities of the true gentleman. He is very fond 
of music and is quite an artist. Indeed, he was cut out for 
either a painter or professor, and he greatly mistook his calling 
when he engaged in the material elements of business. He is a 
quiet, amiable, worthy gentleman. 


'* Honor and shame from no condition rise, 
Act well your part, there all the honor lies." 

Mr. Wiley is emphatically a self-made man, though I must 
admit that his political sagacity has had much to do with his. 
success. He was born in New York State in 1827; lived on a 
farm until he was nineteen vears old, when he learned the trade 
of a carpenter and joiner ; came to St. Paul in 1853 ; helped to 
erect the first bark and afterwards the first log cabin at a place 
called Excelsior ; returned to St. Paul and worked on the old 
Capitol building — burnt down; then in 1854 in company with 
C. F. Hill, lie began contracting and building, and continued in 
this business up to 1863 when he went to Faribault and superin- 
tended the erection of the Shattuck school, St. Mary's Hall, and 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 390 

the Bishop's Church; returned to this city in 1869 and erected 
depots on the line of the St. Paul & Duluth Railroad. Since 
then he has carried on the general business of his trade and con- 

Mr. Wiley is quite a politician and when he moves he carries 
the laboring classes with him because he is supposed to be the 
exponent of their interests. In 1859 he was elected Alderman 
of the Third ward ; served three years and was re-elected, but 
resigned at the expiration of one year and -went to Faribault. 
He was elected to the Legislature in 1 877-78-80 ; was elected 
Register of Deeds in 1883, which position he now holds. 

Mr. Wiley is a slender person of ordinary size ; quiet in his 
movements and in his conversation, and has the faculty of say- 
ing but little. He is a business man, thoroughly honest and 
makes a good officer. 


Judge Howard was born in Ireland in 1834; came to Amer- 
ica in 1848 ; located in St. Paul in 1853 ; educated in the com- 
mon schools of Ireland ; lived in Chicago where he partially 
learned the trade of a tinner and finished his apprenticeship in 
St. Paul ; here he worked at it more or less for thirteen years. 
During this time he developed into a politician and took a very 
active part in the ranks of the Democratic party, and as a result 
he held the following offices : Was a member of the School 
Board from 1869 to 1872, three years; County Commissioner 
from 1867 to 1 87 1, four years ; Municipal Judge from 1869 to 
1872, three years; chairman of the Democratic County Commit- 
tee seven years ; also chairman of the City Committee. 

Mr. Howard is a small man, now clerk in the office of Reg- 
ister of Deeds of Ramsey County, where he has been for several 
years past. In early days he was a leader among the Irish poli- 
ticians, a man of nerve, and I might say audacity, but of late 
years he has dropped out of politics and out of public notice, 
and is quietly pursuing " the even tenor of his way," satisfied 
with what there is left of life to enjoy. He is a quiet, dignified, 
self-possessed, pleasant gentleman, and a man of considerable 


"what is the use?" 

Why this everlasting struggle for money ? Why this over- 
worked brain? Why this eternal round of business? — Cut 
bono, — what good ? Death comes and many in the brief period 
of twenty-four hours are forgotten ! Dead men are not wanted 
in this age ! Time is too precious to grieve ! So the great, 
bustling world pushes the inanimate into oblivion and goes on 
to repeat over and over again the folly of those gone before ! 
To accumulate riches is commendable, but how many get their 
wealth honestly? How many did not lie? how many did not 
misrepresent ? how many did not cheat ? — how many ? You can 
count the number almost on the fingers of your hands. How 
many get rich by pursuing an honest and honorable course ? A 
small fraction of the great world at large. And yet wealth is a 
boon ; money is an essential element of happiness and comfort, 
if properly obtained and not realized at the cost of manhood, of 
health or of life. Nine-tenths of the men in business to-day are 
working like galley-slaves to accumulate money ; never stop- 
ping, never resting, never tiring in their ceaseless rounds of labor 
until cut short by the grim monster Death ! Miss Ella Wheeler, 
in one of her beautiful poems, asks : 

" What is the use of this tempestuous haste } 
The end is certain. Let us take our time 
And hoard the vital forces that we waste 

Before our day has reached its golden prime. 

"What is the use of rushing with spent breath 
After old age, its furrows, its white hair } 
Whv need we hurry so to welcome Death, 

Or go half-way, with hands stretched out to Care ? 

"There is no use. Dear heart, if we but wait 
All things will find us. Let us pause, I say: 
We cannot go beyond the silent gate 

That lies a short day's journey down the way. 

"So let us take our time in youth's fair bowers, 
The summer season is so brief at best; 
Let us look on the stars, and pluck the flowers, 
And when our feet grow weary, let us rest." 


Mr. Edgerton was born in Delaware County, New York, in 
1816, and after receiving a limited academic education, removed 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 401 

to Delhi, where he was appointed Deputy Sheriff. J find in the 
History of Ramsey County the following notable event of his life : 


" In the capacity of Deputy Sheriff he came in collision with a combina- 
tion of armed men known as anti-renters, who resisted the payment of rents 
and the execution of the laws. He was placed in command of a posse of 
horsemen, and on that occasion seven prisoners were captured and confined in 
the county jail at Delhi. The rioters attempted to destroy the jail and rescue 
their comrades. As arms and ammunition were scarce, he conceived the idea 
'Of using pitchforks, which he collected from the stores in town, and organized 
a pitchfork brigade, of which he was appointed Captain, and this brigade was 
used to defend the cannon in lieu of sabres, and the Rev. Mr. Leonard of the 
Presbyterian Church, was made First Lieutenant. He, with his company, also 
assisted in preserving order at the sale of cattle for rents at the Earl sale in the 
town of Andes. His horse was shot from under him, and Mr. Steele, his com- 
rade, was also shot and killed, with his horse. He here made his first speech 
to a band of 163 armed and disguised rioters, warning them against the crime 
of murder and the punishment which was sure to follow. Two of them were 
sentenced to be hung and eighteen to State's Prison, and a large number to 
the county jail, while others fled the country." 


On the 8th of January, 1844, Mr. Edgerton was married to 
Miss Cannon; removed to St. Paul in 1853, and in 1854 opened 
a bank in partnership with the late Charles N. Mackubin in a 
room in the Winslow House, Seven Corners, and subsequently 
removed to the corner of Exchange and Third streets, v/here the 
firm continued up to 1857, when Mr. Mackubin retired and 
Edgerton has continued in the business ever since, putting him 
in the front rank as the oldest continuous banker in the city and 
State, a position he is justly entitled to and which he has bravely 
won. Borup & Oakes, Ira Bidwell, and I think Truman M. 
Smith preceded him, but the three first are dead, and Mr. Smith 
is in another business. 

the ;^ 5, 000,000 railroad loan bill. 

When this bill had passed the Legislature and had been 
endorsed by over 18,000 majority of the people, certain parties 
desired to get the bonds upon which to do banking. Failing to 
secure the exclusive control of the bonds for this purpose, they 
turned their guns upon the measure and fought it desperately, 
even after it had passed the Legislature and been approved by 



the people. This is a matter of history. And it was currently 
reported at the time and generally believed, that Mr. Edgerton 
was the third party to make up this syndicate ; indeed he owned 
the People's Bank, whose bills circulated on these bonds ; but be 
this as it may, I find him opposing the measure and so incurring 
the wrath of the advocates of the movement, that on the even- 
ing of the day when the loan amendment was carried, he was 
serenaded and the band played the " Dead March." Here he 
made the second speech of his life when he uttered that memora- 
ble sentence — " The time will come when the people of Minne- 
sota will vote to repudiate the bonds by a larger majority than 
they have voted to issue them," — and that prediction has proven 
true. And yet, the amendment having passed the Legislature 
and having been approved by the people and having been incor- 
porated as a part of the Constitution, became a plighted pledge 
of the State to pay, and Mr. Edgerton therefore opposed repu- 
diation, and when the bills of his People's Rank came in for 
redemption, he redeemed every dollar ! Chas. Parker, Pease, Chal- 
fant & Co., Wm. R. Marshall, Truman M. Smith and others went 
by the board, but Edgerton came out of the fire like pure gold, 
and has maintained his credit unimpaired ever since. In 1865 
he organized what is now known as the Second National Bank 
of St. Paul, and has been its principal stockholder and president 
from that time to this. He also aided in the organization of the 
National Bank at St. Peter and the Lumbermen's Bank at Still- 
water, and is now not only a director in these banks but in the 
Commercial National Bank of Chicago. 


Mr. Edgerton is a tall, slender person, quick as thought in 
his transactions and usually wears glasses. He is a man of 
great nerve ; a remarkable financier ; one of the best bankers in 
the Northwest, and a gentleman of intrinsic merit. He is pru- 
dent, cautious, careful, yet decisive ; active and stirring, yet slow ; 
close, calulating, systematic, but generous ; and his views of how 
a young man ought to be educated to become a good banker, 
are the soundest and best I have ever heard advanced by any 
financier. Mr. Edgerton has done many very generous acts to 
various individuals, and to his relatives he has given not less 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 403 

than $100,000. While personally I never received a favor from 
him, yet I learn from those who know him best that he ranks all 
other bankers in this city, dead or alive, in acts of generosity, 
and these acts have been performed so quietly, so pleasantly, and 
so cheerfully, that the recipients of his favors will never forget 
his kindness. 


Mr. Brisbin was born at Saratoga, New York, in the year 
1827 ; his father was an eminent physician, his mother was the 
great-great niece of the mother of Washington, and his grand- 
father coming to this country from the north of Ireland, died at 
the age of one hundred and one years. The family have the 
Norman-French pedigree which will in a measure account for 
some of Mr. Brisbin's peculiar characteristics. Educated at Troy 
and Schuylersville young Brisbin entered Yale College at New 
Haven, Conn., in the year 1842, and graduated in 1846 with the 
reputation of being one of the finest writers and speakers in that 
institution, taking the Townsend prize for the best essay in the 
senior class. 


Though a little wild and full of nervous energy in his youth, 
young Brisbin took a prominent position among his literary col- 
legiate associates. He was one of the editors of the Yale Liter- 
ary Magazine; was president of the Brothers in Unity ; a mem- 
ber of the Psi Upsilon Society and also of the Skull and Bones. 
His social nature and superior attainments made him a general 
favorite, and he was one of the boys among the boys, and yet 
he never lost his dignity or his confidence in his own abilities. 
The writer was a citizen of New Haven at the time Mr. Brisbin 
was prosecuting his studies at Yale, and he remembers him as a 
small, slender, elegantly dressed young man, straight, dignified, 
and while affable, yet positive in the expression of his opinions. 


After graduating he read law with Henry W. Merrill, of 
Saratoga, and subsequently with Judge Cady, and Cady, Van 
Vechton & McMartin, of Albany, and was admitted to the bar 


in 1849; practiced at Schuylerville until 1853 ^^"^^ then removed 
to St. Paul. 

Mr. Brisbin, on arriving in this city, took an active part in 
the ranks of the Democratic party and has ever since been a 
strong, unflinching, determined and able advocate of its prin- 
ciples. He was a member and president of the Territorial 
Council (Senate,) in 1856-7 ; a member of the House of Repre- 
sentatives in 1858 and in 1863 ; Mayor of the city, by a unani- 
mous vote, in 1857; City Attorney in 1856; Supreme Court 
Reporter; in 1859 was candidate for Attorney General; in 1864 
was chairman of the Minnesota delegation to the National Demo- 
cratic Convention which nominated George B. McClellan for 
President ; was for several years chairman of the State Demo- 
cratic Central Committee, and has for a long period past devoted 
his time in writing and in speaking for the Democratic party no 
matter whether the principles of that party were popular or 
unpopular. In this respect Mr. Brisbin has been pre-eminentl)' 
conspicuous. He married Miss Almira George in 1850, who 
died in 1863, and then married in 1865 Miss M. Jones of this 
city, a native of New York, who still lives. 

Probably no one man did more in the Legislature of 1857 to 
prevent the removal of the Capitol from St. Paul to St. Peter, 
than did John B. Brisbin. He was fortunately president of the 
Senate, and by his ruling, his determined efforts, and his influ- 
ence he held the opposition together and they won. The bill had 
passed both houses and had gone to the committee on enrolled 
bills, of which Joe Rolette, of Pembina, was chairman, and he 
of course put the document in his pocket and cleared out. Not 
making his appearance for several days Mr. Balcombe, a mem- 
ber from Winona, offered a resolution that the next member of 
the committee enroll a copy of another bill and report it to the 
Senate, and upon this he moved the previous question, when Mr. 
vSetzer moved a call of the House; and then occurred that eladi- 
atoria) parliamentary battle which has never since been witnessed 
in this State. The vote was five for the motion and nine acrainst 
it, and Brisbin, the president, decided that two-thirds of fourteen 
not voting for the motion it was lost. Balcombe strenuously 
declaring, however, that nine was two-thirds of fourteen, but 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 405 

" Bris " insisted that his decision was correct, so the Senate con- 
tinued under the call of the House, but no Rolette made his 
appearance. And here is where Mr. Brisbin showed his te- 
nacity of purpose and parliamentary knowledge, for the Senate 
could not adjourn under the call, and if members on the opposite 
side absented themselves, then the bill could be killed, so liquid 
and solid refreshments were sent to the chamber and both parties 
ate, and drank, and slept, and camped on the floor of the Sen- 
ate. This continued for a number of days and nights, and 
another copy of the bill was procured, enrolled, reported, passed 
and sent to Mr. Brisbin to sign, which he refused to do, claiming 
that the bill was not legal ; nor would the Speaker of the House 
sign it, but Gov. Gorman put his signature to it and subsequently, 
when the matter had been carried to the Supreme Court for adju- 
dication, the decision of Judge Nelson was in favor of the posi- 
tion taken by Mr. Brisbin, and St. Paul still continues to be the 
Capital of Minnesota. Joe Rolette was in one of the upper 
rooms in the old International hotel playing cards, while the 
Council continued in continuous session five days and five nights, 
waiting for the Sergeant-at-Arms to produce the member of the 
committee (Rolette,) who had the bill in charge. He came just 
as the gavel of President Brisbin had declared the Senate 
adjourned, and in a hilarious and grotesque manner presented 
the bill as duly enrolled ! And though twenty-eight years have 
passed since then, yet to the writer it appears almost as an event 
of yesterday — almost a dream ! 


Mr. Brisbin ranks high as a lawyer, especially as an advo- 
cate at the bar. His forensic efforts are peculiar, yet effective, 
carrying conviction and bringing out many fine points of law. 
When addressing a jury he usually commences slowly and as he 
warms up he throws his whole soul into the case, pushes up his 
coat sleeves, sometimes almost above the elbows ; spits in small 
but frequent quantities ; moves his head to one side, gives a 
convulsive twitch of the body, and marches rapidly forward in 
his argument, never moderating or ceasing until he reaches the 
end. He becomes so intensified in his speeches that he seeks to 
break down all opposition and grows electrically eloquent. He 


likes the forum better than the office and may very justly be 
termed a successful advocate, as through his brain-power he has 
accumulated a comfortable property. As a political speaker he 
is systematic, cool, argumentative, historical and interesting, 
quoting largely from Shakespeare and other eminent authors, for 
he has an excellent memory. 

Mr. Brisbin is not a large man physically, yet what there is 
of him is well and tersely made. He has a very dignified appear- 
ance. Standing erect with a fine head set upon square shoulders, 
he gives one the idea of a man of power. He usually dresses 
in a swallow-tail blue coat with brass buttons ; a high standing 
collar and a broad-brimmed, low-crowned slouched hat. Out of 
the court room he is very social in his nature and is easily 
approached. He is a good conversationalist, is original in many 
of his expressions, besides drawing from a well-stocked mind 
many pearls from the very best authors. His features are of the 
Grecian mould and strong lines of character are marked on his 
face, indicating a man of thought, a man of study, and a man 
of ability, while the peculiar twist of the head and the frequent 
expectorations by the lips, clearly mark the individual traits of 
John Ball Brisbin. 


Judge Flandrau was born in New York city in 1828. His 
father was for several years a law partner of Aaron Burr, and 
his mother was a sister of Gen. Macomb, at one time Commander- 
in-Chief of the United States army. The Judge was educated 
at Washington and Georgetown ; followed the sea as midship- 
man for three years ; learned the trade of sawing mahogan\' ; 
studied law at Whitesboro, N. Y., and in the latter part of 1853 
located at St. Paul, where he has more or less ever since 

He was a Deputy Clerk of the United States District Court 
and notar)' public in 1854; member of the Territorial Council 
in 1855; United States Indian Agent for the Sioux in 1856; 
member of the Constitutional Convention in 1857; Associate 
Justice of the Supreme Court in 1857 ; Associate Justice of the 
Supreme Court of the State from 1857 to 1864; Judge Advocate 
General in 1858; president of the first Board of Trade in Min- 


neapolis ; Democratic candidate for Governor of the State in 
1867 ; Democratic candidate for Chief Justice in the fall of 1869, 
and in 1 868 was chairman of the Democratic State Central Com- 
mittee. Married a Miss Dinsmore, of Kentucky, in 1859; mar- 
ried a second time Rebecca B. Riddle, of Pennsylvania, 1871. 
Has two sons and two daughters. 

One of the most notable acts in the life of Judge Flandrau, 
and which stands out in bold relief and reflects great honor upon 
the man, is the conspicuous part he took in the defense of New 
Ulm during the Indian outbreak in the year 1862. It seems 
that the Indians were on their way to attack Fort Ridgely and also 
New Ulm, and on the news reaching St. Peter bells were rung to 
give the alarm and bring the citizens together, and at this meet- 
ing a company was organized and Hon. Charles E. Flandrau, 
then Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, was elected Cap- 
tain. Fifteen men were soon armed and mounted and under the 
command of ex-Sheriff Boardman made all haste for the unfor- 
tunate town which they found besieged by Indians, but dashing 
into the place at full gallop opened up a fire on the enemy and 
saved it for the time being. Flandrau with one hundred men 
hastened forward to the rescue, and reached the city about nine 
o'clock in the evening and was most cordially welcomed by the 
people who were in a wild state of frenzy. Here they halted for 
the night, throwing out guards, when on the next day the barri- 
cades were strengthened, the men encouraged, and a general 
organization for defense adopted. Judge Flandrau was chosen 
Commander-in-Chief, and he set himself to work vigorously to 
meet the enemy. During the day one hundred more men from 
Mankato and Le Sueur were added to the command, making 
about 250 men in all. The first attack upon New Ulm was made 
on Tuesday, and now, having failed to reduce Fort Ridgely, the 
Indians made their way to the town in large numbers and com- 
menced the second attack on Thursday. Judge Flandrau wisely 
considered it best to meet the Indians on an open space, so he 
stationed his men on the prairie about half a mile distant from the 
town, and there the battle was fought. The Indians drove his men 
towards the city, when the Judge and others led the advance up 
hill, and a sharp and general fight ensued. The Judge says : 


"The conflagration became general in the lower part of the town on both sides 
of the street, and the bullets flew very thickly both from the bluff and up the street. 
I thought it prudent to dismount and conduct the defense on foot." 

And he did do so gallantly and coolly throughout the whole 
campaign, having ten men killed and fifty wounded, but he saved 
the town and in that act he has left behind him a name memor- 
able in history. 


Judge Flandrau is a tall, slender, sinewy, dignified, courte- 
ous, energetic, polished gentleman, who more resembles a retired 
army officer than a civilian. He is quick, decisive ; well-learned 
in the law ; polite, earnest, convincing in his arguments, and an 
excellent speaker. He seeks rather to get at the merits of his 
cases than to befog the jury. Indeed I may say he is a first-class 
lawyer and a first-class man, and has filled many important posi- 
tions in the State with great credit. 


A great many old settlers of all nationalities will remember 
Mr. Henry Weber, who came to St. Paul in the spring of 1853. 
He was born in Darmstadt, Germany, in 1820; emigrated to 
America in 1850, the year of his marriage; stopped for two years 
at Fort Wayne, Ind.; purchased a fine team of horses and with 
a few dollars in his pocket started overland for Galena, and there 
took the steamer for St. Paul, accompanied by his wife and an 
eight-months-old child, now a man grown. At the end of about 
two years Mr. Weber had laid by some money, and selling his 
team bought some eighty feet on upper Third street, (opposite 
the Conservatory of Music,) which the heirs still own; built 
some stores thereon (since burned down,) and went into business 
for himself as one of the first confectioners, dealing also in toys 
in upper town, which section was at that time the most prominent 
business part of the city. For a while he did a good trade, as he 
was a careful, prudent, economical man and bravely rode the 
financial storm of 1857 ; and ev^en after this he accumulated some 
other property, beside building in i860 the stone residence on 
Summit avenue opposite the Kittson mansion, where his widow 
now resides. 

Mr. Weber was a man honest in his dealings, as many old 
settlers well remember, and like his friend Presley, was a hard- 


working, industrious citizen. He died of dropsy in 1869, leaving 
a widow and two sons and one daughter in comfortable circum- 


Mr. Weber was born at Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1852; 
came to St. Paul in 1853 ; was educated at the public schools 
and finished his education at Prof. Faddis' Commercial College ; 
became a clerk for his father, and after his death entered the 
employ of R. & J. M. Warner, on Third street, which position 
he held for twelve years. After leaving this firm he went into 
business for himself in the fall of 1881, and being a genial, good- 
hearted, social, very well known young man, he has done an 
excellent business. Like his father he started on a very limited 
capital; was careful ; used pluck; worked hard, until he is con- 
sidered to-day one of the most prominent young retail merchants 
in St. Paul. When a child he remembers running down Third 
street and getting lost in the ravines which then existed below 
Wabasha street, and since then he has. watched the growth of 
St. Paul with pleasure. He was married in 1876 to Miss Sophia 
Haeffner, and has three children living and one dead. Mr. 
Weber is a fine specimen of a physical organization, with a free, 
frank, open countenance, and a man of considerable ability. He 
deserves all he has achieved and a good deal more. 


Mr. Pottgieser was born in Germany in the year 1827 ; edu- 
cated at the common schools of that country ; emigrated to 
America in 1 846, arriving at Chicago ; worked on a farm for a 
while ; went to Michigan and engaged in milling and lumbering ; 
returned to Chicago and became a clerk for his uncle who kept 
a hotel ; married and remained in Chicago several years ; came 
to St. Paul in 1853 ; bought three lots on the corner of Fifth 
and Wabasha streets, the present site of the Custom House, and 
on these lots erected a building which he used as a hotel called 
the Minnesota House, and which he kept until 1866, when, after 
adding additions to it he leased it to Mr. Etta, and the name was 
changed to that of the Mansion House. 

How grandly it loomed up before the weary traveler as he 
drew near to its hospitable door and cuddled in from the beating 


storm ! How cheery the fire crackled in the big old fire-place, 
or roared in the huge old wood stove, and how warm and com- 
fortable the dingy room became when the smiling landlord 
greeted his guests. And then the mug of beer ! the old pipe ! 
the smoking viands on the long wooden table ! the pleasant form 
of the matron, in her tidy apron and smiling face! the warm 
reception ; the story, the song, the dance, the good cheer ! — 
*' exactly, exactly ; " — the soft, downy beds, the sound sleep, the 
familiar faces and voices, and gleeful tones of laughter ; the utter 
freedom from restraint, the home comforts ; aye, all have disap- 
peared, and those who threw such a halo of light, and warmth, 
and pleasure over, and in, and through the little unpretentious 
inn, have also passed down into the dark valley of death ! A 
few old, tottering men occasionall}' pause in front of that mass 
of stone and cement known as the Custom House, and look in 
vain for the little old-fashioned inn that over a quarter of a cen- 
tury ago occupied the place, and then, turning mutter — " Gone, 
gone ! gone ! " and when I look again they too have passed into 
the unseen, silent land. 

In 1867-8 Mr. Pottgieser sold two lots out of his three for 
about §20,000, ;Si 3,000 cash, and took as part payment the lot 
and house corner of Fourth and Wabasha streets, and here he 
kept what was known as the American House until he died, in 
1880, aged fifty -three years. Previous to opening this house in 
1868, he engaged in the vinegar business but gave it up to carr}- 
on the hotel. 


His original three lots on the corner of Fifth and Wabasha 
streets, cost him about ;^ 1,000; worth now $50,000; the Ameri- 
can House property, loox 100 feet, which he took in trade, is 
worth $75,000 more, nearly this amount having been paid for it 
by the present owner. 

Mr. Pottgieser was a man of ordinary size, possessing great 
energy and great industry. He carried his head to one side, 
threw his left foot forward so that when he walked it was par- 
tially side-way, and he moved like a whirlwind. He was shrewd, 
sharp, quick, and when anything struck him as particularl}- im- 
pressive or amusing, he would careen his head, snap his fingers 

OF ST. PAUL, iVIXN. 411 

and exclaim — " Exactly ! exactly ! " He had five children — two 
dead ; two boys and one daughter living. Mrs. Pottgieser con- 
tinued to run the hotel a year or so after the death of her husband 
and was noted as a remarkable business woman, kind, moth- 
erly and greatly esteemed by all who knew her. She died in 


A tall, slender, quiet, moderate, modest, unostentatious gen- 
tleman is Horace R. Bigelow, now marching forward to three 
score and ten. Born in New York in 1820, he received a com- 
mon school education ; taught school for a time ; studied law 
with Mann and Edmunds of Utica, and in partnership with E. 
S. Brayton practiced his profession up to 1853, when he came to 
St. Paul and has lived here uninterruptedly ever since. He 
married in New York Miss Cornelia Sherrill, who still lives. 

Very few men have lived a more quiet, or a more serene, 
or a more uniform, or a better life, than Mr. Bigelow ; and this 
is remarkable for a lawyer who has attained the eminence at the 
bar which he has, and can only be accounted for by the fact that 
he is eminently self-poised, is no public speaker, and has made 
his reputation before the jury, not in strains of liquid eloquence, 
but by his perfect conception of the law as obtained by earnest 
study in his office, coupled with a fine discrimination in favor of 
iustice, for law is one thing and justice is another, and Mr Bige- 
low has never lost sight of this fact. In point of solid law learn- 
ing, good judgment, honest convictions as to right and fair deal- 
ing, as a judicial advocate Mr. Bigelow has no peer in this State, 
and as a man and a citizen he has no superior. 

When I made my first speech in this city to the toast of 
"The Old Folks at Home," in the Baldwin school-house in 1853, 
Mr. Bigelow said to me — " I would give all I had if I could speak- 
like that ! " and several times since then he has sought to address 
a jury, but has never been satisfied with his efforts. He ought 
to be, for Bigelow is rich and I am poor ; and yet it was a sort 
of chance which started him out into the financial world. The 
Indian massacre had occurred and many settlers on the frontier 
had lost all their property. Senator Wilkinson succeeded in 
getting a bill through Congress paying the settlers for damages, 


and many of these claims coming into the hands of Bigelow, out 
of this transaction he made considerable money, and then, of 
course, banks and railroad companies and others engaged his 
services, and he has quietly moved onward to financial success. 
He would make a most excellent and upright judge. He has 
never been entangled in politics and has never held any office, 
and is about as complete a man as this modern age has produced. 


Mr. Ames was the Chesterfield of the Minnesota bar, and 
for that matter one might say he was the Chesterfield of the 
whole Northwest. He was born in Vermont about 1822 ; received 
an ordinary common school education ; was induced to commence 
the study of law by a suit he had over some tin boxes ; removed 
in early life to Wisconsin and practiced his profession there ; 
then drifted in 1849 to Stillwater, where, I think, he was for a 
time in business with Judge Nelson; came to St. Paul in 1853, 
and the firm finally became Ames, Van Etten & Officer. He 
was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1857. 

Mr. Ames was a man of fine legal attainments and was 
unquestionably the coolest and most polite lawyer at the bar. 
He was tall, well-dressed, having all the appearance of a perfect 
gentleman, and his irresistibly pleasant manners won him many 
friends. He had his faults, as all men of his genial nature have, 
but he was nevertheless an able advocate, and cool enough in a 
lawsuit to freeze out even a Minnesota cold winter. Nervous 
and fidgety lawyers used to get out of all manner of patience 
with Ames because he was always so self-possessed. 


Once Gov. Gorman had a case with him, and he became so 
indignant at his smiling and collected manner, that he burst out 
with the exclamation — " Look at that d — d refrigerator ! " at the 
same time scowling at him in a most terrific manner as only Gor- 
man could scowl. Ames meekly replied — " My friend seems to 
be a little disturbed," and that made Gorman madder than before. 

A suit had been instituted against Curran of the old World's 
Fair store, in which Vetal Guerin was somewhat mixed up. 
Brisbin was on one side of the case and Ames on the other. 


" Well, what did Vetal Guerin say ?" asked Ames of the 

"I object," said Brisbin. "Well, all right; we'll argue this 
point," said Ames, and so the two lawyers went at it, and con- 
tinued their arguments from ten in the morning until two in the 
afternoon, when Judge Palmer decided that the question was 
admissible, and " Bris " subsided. 

"Well," asked Ames in a drawling tone, " what-did-the-wit- 
ness-say ?" 

" Vetal Guerin, you mean ?" 

" Yes." 

" Oh, he didn't say anything." Brisbin roared, the court 
smiled, and Ames remarked, politely bowing — " A very obliging 
witness," and went on with the case as though nothing had hap- 


Ames had in hand a case of a citizen of one of the adjoin- 
ing towns, when all of a sudden his client withdrew the suit and 
put it into the hands of another law firm. When the man came 
upon the witness stand to testify, Ames inquired of him what a 
certain neighbor had said' to him (the witness) about the matter 
under dispute, which question he declined to answer, and on 
being forced to do so by the order of the Judge, he said: 

*' Well, he told me to have nothing to do with that d 

rascal of a fellow, Ames, and that's why I took my case out of 
his hands." After the uproar in court attending this incident had 
partially subsided, Ames turned to the Judge and in his most 
polite and insinuating and persuasive manner, remarked — " May 
it please your honor, a very pleasant little episode ! " 

Mr. Brisbin had sued a client for services rendered, and as 
he was a witness he employed Ames to conduct the case ; amount 
at issue $330. When the suit came to trial Ames was on hand 
and opened the matter thus — " Mr. Brisbin will please take the 
stand," and then addressing the Judge — " May it please your 
honor, I shall move to amend this complaint by substituting 
^i,000 instead of ;^300." 

" But," said Brisbin, " I can't swear to that, Mr. Ames." 
Ames looked at him for a moment scornfully, and then in the 


blandest manner remarked — " Mr. Brisbin will please step aside ; 
I never allow a witness to interfere in my cases." " Bris " began 
to expostulate, but it was no use ; Ames' dignity had been 
offended, and he refused to go on with the case. 

Mr. Ames had a peculiar voice resembling somewhat a 
woman's. He was always gentlemanly, always social, always 
kind, never held any political office, and died in the vigor of 
manhood. He fell down stairs in coming out of his office in the 
old brick building which stood on the corner of Third and Min- 
nesota streets, and soon after joined ** the innumerable throng " 
wl:ich had gone before. 

" Life's fitful fever o'er, he sleeps well." 


Mr. Sandford was born in Massachusetts in 1825 ; educated 
at the Lennox Academy ; studied law at Great Barrington ; 
admitted to practice in 1847 '■> entered into partnership with Judge 
Sumner, with whom he remained until 1849, when he went to 
California and was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of 
that State; returned to Massachusetts and in 1853 settled in St. 
Paul ; was admitted to practice in the Territorial Court and 
has continued in his profession here ever since; married M. M. 
Ray of Great Barrington in 1859 ; has one son, a lawyer. 

Mr. Sandford purchased some twenty -five years ago, a lot on 
Wabasha street fronting Court House Square, for which he paid 
$700; property worth now ;!^25,ooo. He also purchased real 
estate on the corner of Fourth and Rosabel streets, and near to 
it, which cost in the aggregate about $5,000 ; worth now $60,000. 
Property in other places makes him the owner of not less than 
$125,000 in real estate. Of course assessments, taxes, interest 
on money, all have to come out of these investments, and yet 
even then the rise on the property leaves a very fine margin. 

Mr. Sandford is a medium sized man ; very quiet in his 
habits; quick and industrious ; undemonstrative; a careful, safe 
lawyer, and a sober, steady, honorable citizen. He is a man who 
knows his own business thoroughly and minds it. 


Another gentleman by the name of Sandford, but not the 
one above alluded to, formerly owned a building which stood on 


the corner of Third and Wabasha streets now known as War- 
ner's block, which was destroyed by fire. On the opposite cor- 
ner where the Second National Bank now is, was a two-story 
wooden edifice, a room in which was occupied by the late Dr. J. 
H. Stewart. It so happened that in Sandford's building was 
some powder, and during the conflagration a lot of this powder 
exploded and carried Stewart out of his bed of typhoid fever 
and landed him on the floor, entirely curing him of his disease. 
Sandford was considerably frightened and so was everybody 
else, including Stewart, but the Doctor never afterwards pre- 
scribed the remedy to his typhoid patients as he was afraid the 
cure would be worse than the disease — a ^ shock on the nerves! 


Mr. Berkey was born in Pennsylvania in 1822 ; had but little 
opportunity for, and never received much of an education, but was 
early thrown upon his own resources and obliged to seek his liv- 
ing as best he could, and as he did, working on canals, railroads 
and stage roads in his native State, but he picked up a great deal 
of good common sense and practical knowledge, and it has been 
of great service to him in his mature years ; besides it has taught 
him lessons of industry and economy which have paved his way 
to financial success. Forty-nine years ago he saw the first train 
of cars pass over the track of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and 
the first boat on the Pennsylvania canal. He came to St. ♦Paul 
in 1853, and I remember Berkey's livery stable down on the cor- 
ner of Eagle and Exchange streets, near Symond's old ice-house ; 
then he removed to upper town and ran a livery for nearly thirty 
years, and yet at the same time he was engaged in other branches 
of business, such as iron, hardware, railroad, insurance and bank- 
ing. A friend originally went into the livery business and leav- 
ing suddenly Mr. Berkey had to carry on the establishment. 

Mr. Berkey was Alderman in 1859, 1862, 1864, 1865, 
1868 and 1871 ; member of the Legislature in 1872; County 
Commissioner in 1863, 1873, 1875; was president of the St. 
Paul, Stillwater & Taylors Falls Railroad ; director of the Sec- 
ond National Bank ; vice-president of the Fire & Marine Insur- 
ance Company for ten years ; director in the St. Paul Trust 
Company ; a trustee of the City Library ; Indian Commissioner 


of the State at large to care for the refugees from the Indian 
massacre ; Commissioner to audit claims on the part of the refu- 
gees ; was once captain of a canal boat, and is now president of 
the St. Paul National Bank. 

Mr. Berkey is as hard as iron in his general physical and 
mental make-up — that is, he is a man of positive and determined 
elements of character ; far-seeing and sagacious ; prudent ; con- 
servative ; careful ; cautious ; strict ; methodical, and yet all 
tempered with a good deal of hard common sense. He is 
empliatically a self-ijiade man; has proved a valuable officer in 
the City Council and in the Legislature and as County Commis- 
sioner, and is especially useful in the Chamber of Commerce. 
He is a man who can say no with a big N. He is individualized. 
He is a balance pendulum in the financial circle. He is a regu- 
latpr ; a brake on the wheel of precipitation ; a general " hold- 
back " to extravagance and high taxes ; in a word though appar- 
ently a little abrupt yet he is a very useful citizen because possess- 
ing the very elements which make him what he is. He is a man 
of medium size, with gray hair, a rounded and well-developed 
head, a strong cast of countenance, and has more the appearance 
of a citizen from New England than from Pennsylvania. He is a 
necessity for the good of the body politic, and when gone the 
business community will greatly miss Peter Berkey. 


Very few men in this city have turned the corner so happily 
and been so thoroughly rejuvenated and blessed with good luck, 
as has Charles A. B. Weide. 

"Now is the winter of our discontent 
Made glorious summer by the son of York, 
And all the dark spots that lowered about his pathway 
Are in the deep bosom of the ocean Iniried." 

The hard times, the depression in property, the struggle, the 
loss, the anxiety incident to all the old settlers, are only things 
of history in Mr. Weide's case, for he now is on the top wave 
and is marching forward to complete success. He is slender in 
person, energetic in his movements, yet quiet in his ways. Born 
in Germany in 1833, he emigrated with his parents to this coun- 
try in 1834, and removed to a place called Egypt, in Illinois, and 


from thence to Cincinnati, Ohio, and thence to Madison, Indi- 
ana ; thence to IndianapoHs in 1850, where he opened a store 
and remained in business there some two years and a half; came 
to St. Paul in 1853 and was employed with his father in a store 
up to 1857, when the latter turned his business over to himself 
and his brother Joseph, giving them ;^2,ooo to work on. The 
brothers built up a large trade on Third street, where they were 
burned out in 1867, and following came a long and hotly-con- 
tested lawsuit for the insurance money, which was finally won 
by the Weides after the case had gone to the United States 
Court. Then they did little or nothing up to 1871, and from 
that year began dealing in real estate and continued up to 1876, 
when Charles was taken sick and remained so up to 1882, and 
then he returned to St. Paul and again tackled real estate and 
has done exceedingly well. He sells his own land, and on 
Arlington Hills and Nelson's Eastville Heights Addition he has 
sold over 700 lots. He has recently donated two lots to the 
Swedish and Norwegian Methodist Churches. He was married 
in i860' to Louise, daughter of Casper H. Schurmeier, and has 
one son and daughter, and in his own language " is the happiest 
man in the State and feels as young as any one of thirty years." 


Born in Providence, R. I., in 1831 ; after a thorough educa- 
tion young Wakefield studied law and was admitted to practice ; 
came to St. Paul in 1853 and formed a partnership with John E. 
Warren, the firm being Wakefield and Warren. He was a 
young man of fine personal appearance, genial and gentle, and 
as Mr. Neill said of him, '' unostentatious and unobtrusive he 
was unappreciated by those who are * caught by glare.' Pos- 
sessed of a competence he was not under the hard necessity of 
entering into the scramble for public emolument, so he was a 
real gentleman and to be loved. During the first year of his resi- 
dence in St. Paul, with the aid of a few others, he was instru- 
mental in procuring the delivery of a course of lectures for the 
improvement of young men, and was ever ready to co-operate 
in advancing the higher interests of the city." He gave Mr. 
Neill ^500 when he died to form the nucleus of a church in St. 
Paul, and no young man who ever came here has left behind 



him so excellent a memory as that of the young, talented andi 
genial gentleman — Joseph Wakefield. 


In 1853, or thirty-three years ago, the writer entered the office- 
of the old Democrat, which was then in a room in a wooden 
building on the corner of Third and Wabasha streets, and there 
he met a quiet, unpretending gentleman, who, greeting him cor- 
dially, demonstrated that he was superior to a good deal of the 
humanit)' which lay around loose. He was slender in person, 
very quiet in his ways and affable in his nature, and an acquaint- 
ance thus began lasted over thirty years. Mr. Armstrong was 
born in Ohio in 1827; received a fair education and entered the 
office of the Oliio Statesman at the age of fifteen years and 
learned the trade of a printer. Years afterwards he became one 
of the editors of the Mount Vernon, Ohio, Democratic Banner^ 
and subsequently was one of the proprietors of the Keokuk, 
Iowa, Constitution-, came to St. Paul in 1853, and a few years 
afterwards was appointed Territorial Treasurer and was subse- 
quently elected to the same office by the people. He then com- 
menced dealing in real estate and loaning money, and in this he 
continued up to his death. 

Mr, Armstrong once said to me on Third street, and I shall 
never forget the remark — '* Newson, don't bother yourself with 
business, but when you get ^lOO put it out at interest, that pays 
best, for interest goes on when you sleep, when you wake, when 
you weep, when you rejoice, when you die. It is the easiest and 
best way to make money," and so it is, but I learned the lesson 
too late. Armstrong acted upon his own advice and his estate 
is quite valuable. His interest money and the rise on the real 
estate which he purchased made him rich. He was a man with 
no bad habits, no angular points, no animosities, but very gen- 
erally esteemed and very generally respected for his intrinsic 
merits as a man and a citizen. 


In early days, while wandering in the woods on the west 
side of the river, I saw that which very few persons have ever 
seen, and that which is never done, viz : an Indian young man 


kissing a maiden, giving her the real, genuine, modern smack. 
I never saw it before nor since, nor have I ever read of a male 
Indian kissing a female. Kissing among the whites is a common 
practice, for we hold our women our equal or a little above us, 
but the Indians look down upon the squaws as too inferior to 
kiss, and hence they never do it. I have seen some white people 
even affect to despise kissing, but — 

"Nobody is above it; 

The old maids love it, 
And widows have a finger in the pie. 

Some people are so haughty 

That they say it's very naughty, 
But yovi bet your life they do it on the sly." 


Mr. Conway is an old landmark having come to St. Paul 
in 1853. In early days he was rather a small man, full of fun 
and mischief, but as the years began to pile themselves up on 
him he has become sedate and rounded out into good proportions 
and he can now turn the scale at 230 pounds. I remember him 
in the old Pioneer o^cq in 1853, when he gave Maj. Joseph R. 
Brown the title of " Joe the Juggler," and when his other funny 
antics made him the humorous man of the office. He was born 
in Michigan in 1836; removed to Illinois with his parents in 
1839; returned to Michigan in 1850; learned the printing busi- 
ness with an older brother; came to Minnesota in 1853, and in 
the early part of that year was employed on the St. Anthony 
Express. From the case where he worked he could look across 
the Mississippi river over the Falls of St. Anthony, and from this 
position saw the ground broken for the first building that was 
erected in Minneapolis. In the latter part of 1853 he came to 
St. Paul and worked in the old Pioneer office, which stood on 
Bench street. In 1854 he was employed as general delivery- 
clerk in the St. Paul post office; in 1855 had a book store on 
Third street, between Minnesota and Cedar ; in 1856 returned to 
Michigan and commenced the publication of a weekly news- 
paper ; in 1857 taught school at Belvidere, 111., and the same 
year married Miss Esther R. Sheldon of that place; in 1858 
returned to St. Paul and assisted Andrew J. Whitney in the City 
Clerk's office, and in 1859, on the resignation of Mr. Whitney, 


was elected to fill the vacancy; in i860 was appointed Deputy 
County Auditor of Ramsey County ; was reappointed to the 
same position in 1862; in 1865 was connected with T. D. Smith 
of Chaska in the sutler store at Fort Snelling; in 1866 was clerk 
with A. S. Wheelock in the grocery trade on Seventh street, St. 
Paul; in 1867 went to Chicago, 111., and engaged as traveling 
salesman in the tea trade and continued in this capacity until 
1873, when he went to La Crosse, V/is., and engaged in the 
clothing business; in 1875 was employed with Canterberry & 
Co. at Midway and Onalaska, Wis. ; in 1876 returned to St. Paul 
and engaged as traveling salesman; in 1 881, still retaining his 
residence in St. Paul, he engaged as traveling salesman for an 
importing tea house of New York city and is now employed by 
said house. 

From the above it will be seen that Mr. Conway has had his 
share of the manv chancres in life, having been on the teeter- 
taunter board, now up, now down, and yet he coolly views 
things as they are, not as he would have them. He is a good 
deal like David Crockett, if he fails, he picks his flint and tries 
again ; and thus the wheel of time keeps on its constant course 
while the old settler tugs aw^ay until washed out into the ocean 
of eternity. 


Mr. Beaupre was born in Canada in 1823, and is of French 
descent. At the age of fourteen years he moved with his parents 
to Oswego, N. Y., where he received a common school educa- 
tion ; came to St. Paul in 1853, and has been a grocery mer- 
chant here for thirty-three years. At first he was in the firm of 
Temple & Beaupre, wholesale and retail dealers. On the death 
of Mr. Temple the firm became Beaupre & Kelly, continuing up 
to 18/5, when it was changed to McQuillan, Beaupre & Co. 
Since the first of January, 1877, it has been Beaupre, Allen & 
Keogh, and is now Beaupre, Keogh & Co. The house has 
alwa}\s had a good reputation ; no man has given it more char- 
acter than Mr. Beaupre. Since a resident of St. Paul he has 
lived a very busy yet quiet life ; has had very little to do witli 
politics and never held apolitical office in his life, and if there is 
any pleasure or profit in office-holding he has generously let his 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 421 

neighbors have the Hon's share. He is a domestic man, quite 
contented to be the ruler of a small household, and prosperity 
has not spoiled him, for he likes to see others comfortable as 
well as himself, and is a friend to the poor. He was married in 
1855 to Miss Margaret Amelia Bamford, and has four children 


Mr. Beaupre was the first man this side of Chicago to take 
his grip-sack to sell goods from St. Paul on samples, and he is 
very proud of this achievement, while now he is the oldest whole- 
sale merchant in the city. It was an up-hill business over twenty- 
five years ago to sell goods at wholesale from St. Paul upon 
samples presented, and country merchants would frequently say 
to him — " We don't understand how you can sell us goods at 
wholesale when we carry stocks just as large as yours and buy 
just as cheaply as you do." Notwithstanding all this, with the 
extra energy and perseverance he displayed, Mr. Beaupre would 
sell them their groceries, and was therefore the first to con\'ince 
the merchants in the country of the fact that they could buy their 
goods in St. Paul cheaper than elsewhere, and hence he became 
the father of the present immense jobbing trade of our already 
great and growing city. He is a tall and slender man, very active 
in business, but quiet and unassuming on the street ; has been in 
poor health for several years and yet he is a man of great energy 
and endurance, and enjoys a good horse and a fast team as well 
as any gentleman in the State. 


Mr. Delaney was born in Ireland in 1828 ; emigrated to New 
York in 1847 ;. learned the trade of a butcher, and came to St. 
Paul in 1853 ; was government butcher at Fort Snelling; opened 
a meat stall in the market; built the first exclusive meat shop in 
the city, near the Seven Corners ; ran a stall in the market and 
also his shop twelve years ; in 1 870 built the first regular stock 
yards in the city or State, and in 1880, in partnership with Capt. 
M. J. O'Connor, opened his present stock yards on the upper 
flats. Mr. Delaney says that in 1853 the population of St. Paul 
consumed five cattle per day; now 125 cattle are required for city 


consumption daily, and that the prices of beef have doubled since 
then. Cattle at that time came from Illinois ; now from Montana. 
In early days Mr. Delaney worked at farming for a short time 
on the property of Daniel Hopkins and owned some forty acres 
of land in Reserve township, which he sold for ;^i 1,500; worth 
now $40,000. Mr. Delaney is a large man standing above six- 
feet in his stockings; has a fresh, florid complexion, and is quiet 
and unostentatious in his ways. He has followed but one pur- 
suit all his life, except for a few months at farming, and that is a 
dealer in stock, and in his special business he has no superior. 
He is a of uniform temper and habits, and when in the com- 
pany of his friends is social and pleasant, and ver)- generally 
esteemed for his solid worth. 


Mr. Mayo" is among our tallest citizens, rivaling in height 
Nathan Myrick, and his familiar form is well-known to all the 
old settlers. He has always been a very steady, very quiet, very 
temperate, very industrious and very respectable citizen. He is 
destitute of pedanticity and has no tendency toward grandilo- 
quence, but is a gentleman of intrinsic merit, and though modest 
and retiring yet he has performed his part in the great drama of 
frontier life. He was born in Massachusetts in 1827, where he 
was educated ; clerked in a hardware store in Boston for seven 
years ; resided six months in Cincinnati ; came to St. Paul in 
1853; commenced the hardware business in 1854 on Third 
street, between Robert and Jackson. After several removals 
Mayo & Clark took a building on Third street, below the Mer- 
chants hotel, where they remained until they went out of busi- 
ness. Mr. Mayo was in the hardware trade for nearly thirty 
years, and during all this time he never held any public office, 
although he was one of the incorporators of the St. Paul Library 
Association, and has held every office in that institution from 
president down. He was also president of the Historical Society 
and was a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences. He 
has never dealt in politics and consequently has saved himself 
many hours of humiliation and regret. He is very much inter- 
ested in the genealogy of his family and has gi\'en much time 
and attention to it. 

OF ST. PA UL, MINN. 423 


Mr. Grace Is an unassuming man, who, for the past thirty-two 
years has Hved in St. Paul, and who during those years has quietly 
•passed along in the even tenor of his way, accomplishing a vast 
amount of work in his especial department as a mason and stone 
•contractor, having built some of the mos